Low Income Home Energy Assistance

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Office: Administration for Children and Families, Division of Energy Assistance
370 L’Enfant Promenade, S.W, Washington, District of Columbia 20447
Phone: (202) 401-9351 Fax: (202) 401-5661

Grants distributed under LIHEAP

FY 14 $3,421,561,000
FY 15 $2,796,700,000  est.

What is LIHEAP and how the grants are used to pay cooling and heating bills of the eligible households?

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) was created by the U.S. Congress and is managed by the Department of Health and Human Services. The purpose of LIHEAP  is to assist through grants low income and very low income households (families and individuals), that spend high proportion of their income for heating and cooling bills.

This program funded by grants appropriated from the U.S. Federal Government offers one time immediate help to needy households by paying their cooling or heating bills.

Administration of LIHEAP is made by States, territorial and tribal governments. The Congress also appropriates contingency funds under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. The contingency funds are grants that can be used to assist needy persons pay their energy bills in case of emergency. Money from that fund can be released only in case of emergency situations at the discretion of the President.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Low Income Energy Assistance Program provides energy assistance by paying cooling and heating bills to households with incomes up to the greater of 150% of the federal poverty level or 60% of the State median income. States, tribal or territories may establish lower income eligibility criteria but they cannot set the limit below 110% of the federal poverty level as published for the current year.

Eligibility requirements follow the federal guidelines and also depend on the grantees administering the program but in general, they are focused on very low income households with elderly, disabled, or young children.

The LIHEAP is run on first come first served basis and additional grant money can be released only in case of emergency. Eligible households get their cooling or heating energy bills paid directly by the local agency that administers the program. Payments are made to the local utility companies or vendors. In most states eligible households for LIHEAP are automatically included in the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and get weather related improvements of their homes.

The goal of WAP is to reduce energy consumption and costs by repairing eligible homes, improving their insulation, replacing any broken glass, and replacing old appliances with new that are more energy efficient.

For more information on Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) contact your local LIHEAP office or:
Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Energy Assistance,
370 L’Enfant Promenade, S.W, Washington, District of Columbia 20447
Phone: (202) 401-9351 Fax: (202) 401-5661