Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federal-funded program that works in the state of Illinois under the umbrella of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). This initiative is intended to help families in need to pay their utility bills on time, and avoid them to get left behind on these payments.
To qualify for LIHEAP in Illinois, applicants must meet certain income criteria, and the amount of assistance they receive is based on factors like household size, income, and energy consumption. Once approved, eligible participants receive assistance that can be directly applied to their energy bills, reducing their financial burden and preventing utility disconnections during critical weather conditions.
How to Apply for LIHEAP in Illinois – Pay Your Bills on Time
A local nonprofit organization is poised to lend a helping hand to community members in need through its involvement in the LIHEAP program. The Western Illinois Regional Council-Community Action Agency (WIRC) is stepping up to aid applicants in covering their winter home energy expenses, reestablishing their electrical and heating services, and even repairing or replacing malfunctioning home furnaces.
Take into account that the financial assistance is provided directly to the utility companies responsible for servicing the households, and will not be directly delivered to the applicant’s.
When Will the LIHEAP Funds Be Assigned?
To ensure accessibility for applicants, the dedicated WIRC team will be available at various predetermined locations within their five-county service area. Additionally, for those facing transportation challenges, the option of applying by phone will be made available. For households keen on seeking assistance, the first step involves reaching out to WIRC to confirm their eligibility and schedule an appointment with a designated case worker.
WIRC’s scheduling approach prioritizes the most vulnerable members of the community. Commencing on October 2, appointments will be allocated to seniors aged 60 and above, families with children under the age of six, and disabled individuals. Come November 1, households facing disconnections, in possession of disconnection notices, or having less than 25 percent fuel in their propane tanks can submit their applications. Finally, starting December 1, all other income-eligible households will have the opportunity to apply for much-needed energy assistance.
Eligibility for LIHEAP in Illinois
Eligibility for assistance is determined by the household’s total gross income, which must not exceed 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. These guidelines are outlined as follows: $2,430 per month for a one-person household, $3,287 per month for a two-person household, $4,143 per month for a three-person household, $5,000 per month for a four-person household, and $5,857 per month for a five-person household.
Households consisting in six or more individuals are encouraged to contact WIRC to determine their eligibility based on income.
Given the historical trend of rising propane prices during the winter months, individuals belonging to any of the priority groups are strongly encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible. Doing so ensures that the benefit awards extend further in alleviating energy-related financial burdens.
Knox County residents can initiate the process by calling WIRC’s Galesburg office at 309-837-5115 to secure an appointment. Meanwhile, residents of Hancock, Henderson, McDonough, and Warren Counties can arrange appointments by contacting WIRC’s Macomb office.