The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federal-run initiative designed to help eligible low-income households manage their home energy expenses, particularly during the winter months, but also during the summer. It’s ready to help those in the need to cope with the high-cost energy bills.
Because we all know that high energy costs often pose significant financial burdens, forcing families to make difficult choices regarding their financial obligations and daily necessities. In the state of Illinois, households with an income below a specific threshold, determined annually by the Department of Commerce, may qualify for LIHEAP assistance. The annual eligibility levels are based on available funding and typically do not exceed 200% of the federal nonfarm poverty level.
Could I apply for LIHEAP in Illinois? The Utility Bill Assistance
To be eligible for LIHEAP in Illinois, residents must have a household income that falls below the annual threshold set by the Department of Commerce. These income limits are revised every year and are based on the available funding. Generally, the income limit does not exceed 200% of the federal nonfarm poverty level. Eligibility criteria may vary in different states or regions, so it is essential to check the specific requirements in your area.
The idea of the LIHEAP program, both in Illinois and in other parts of the country, is to prevent families from having to make decisions that are difficult and painful, such as having to turn off the air conditioner when there are extreme heat waves outside: this could put your family’s life at risk. In order to apply, the first thing to do is to locate the LIHEAP application agency in your county: LIHEAP applications are processed through designated agencies in your city or town. To find the agency responsible for your area, refer to the list provided on the LIHEAP website.
People who can apply for LIHEAP benefits are those who:
- had their electricity disconnected
- are in danger of the electricity to be discontinued
- are largely indebted with their bills
- are low income Illinois residents
Now, regarding your particular needs, there are several assistance branches that you could request:
- Help Illinois Families: A Program for suitable Illinois residents searching for emergency assistance to cover costs of utility bills, rent, temporary shelter, food, and other household necessities.
- Community Action Agencies: They provide a variety of services, including but not limited to, rental/mortgage assistance, food, energy utility bill assistance, water/sewer payment, employment training/placement, financial management, and temporary shelter.
- Keep Warm Illinois: A one-stop site for all your winter weatherization needs, with s particular focus on efficiency and cleanness.
- Home Weatherization: Run by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
What is the income threshold for LIHEAP in Illinois
The income eligibility for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in Illinois is determined annually by the Department of Commerce. The eligibility level may not exceed 200% of the federal nonfarm poverty level. However, the specific income thresholds for eligibility may vary depending on the household size and other factors. To apply for LIHEAP in Illinois, you can visit the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity website or the DCEO Help Illinois Families webpage. The application period for Illinois is from October 2, 2023, to August 15, 2024, or until funding is exhausted. When applying, you may need to provide certain documentation to prove eligibility, such as proof of past 30-day income, copies of heat and electric bills, social security cards or ITINs, rental agreements (if applicable), and proof of receiving other benefits such as TANF or SNAP from the Illinois Department of Human Services.
Family Size (total number in household) 30-Day Gross Income Total to Meet Eligibility
- 1 member: $2430
- 2 members: $3,287
- 3 members: $4,143
- 4 members: $5,000
- 5 members: $5,857
- 6 members: $6,713
To find the income threshold for LIHEAP in Illinois, you can refer to the following sources:
dceo.illinois.gov states that Illinois residents with a household income that does not exceed an amount determined annually by the Department of Commerce are eligible for LIHEAP. The annual eligibility levels are determined based on available funding and may not exceed 200% of the federal nonfarm poverty level.
liheapch.acf.hhs.gov provides information on the income eligibility standards for LIHEAP. According to the LIHEAP statute, a household must have an income that does not exceed the greater of 150 percent of the federal poverty guideline (FPG) or 60 percent of the state median income (SMI) level. The federal government establishes the FPG and SMI poverty guidelines annually.
You could get also your water bills paid in Illinois: What is the LIHWAP program
At the same time that you apply to apply for your LIHEAP benefits, you can apply for the help called LIHWAP, which stands for Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program. In Illinois, the LIHWAP program helps needy households with up to $400 to pay for water and sewer services, according to the determined poverty level. The main beneficiaries are those who face the risk of disconnection from the service, something that could put the health and general well-being of the household members at risk.
Households whose water services have already been disconnected may be eligible to receive up to $1,500. Customers are now also eligible for a reduction of their water and sewer bill if they don’t owe a balance.
The LIHWAP program is active and being paid until August 31, 2023, depending on the availability of funds (several counts currently do not have funds for new applicants, but it is best to ask at your local office). Remember: You can apply for LIHWAP at the same time you complete your LIHEAP application. Feel free to visit the Help Illinois Families to request services in your county or see the list of Community Action Agencies.
Get in touch with your local LIHEAP office
For example, for the state of Illinois, you can establish your first contact with the LIHEAP program manager, Leslie Ann Lesko, in the Office of Community Assistance, part of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (in Springfield, IL), located at 500 East Monroe Street, Springfield, Illinois 62701, or calling by 1-877-411-WARM (9276). The official weatherization website is also a good resource to find all the data you require.
Fill out the application form accurately and provide all requested information. Be sure to include any supporting documentation required on the official website, www.HelpIllinoisFamilies.com.
The LIHEAP assistance is available to permanent residents, year round, and is open to those who used it in previous years, regardless of their citizenship status. In the case of Illinois, every applicant must reside within the state’s limits.