Applicant families for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) program in Illinois can now apply for this important energy bills assistance, and those in need are encouraged to apply now. The program has a new extended time window, and there’s still funds to be disbursed among families. In 2022, the program was active for 8 months, and in 2023 the period is 10.5 months long.
Actually, LIHEAP applications have been being accepted since last October 1st, 2023, but at that time only disabled people aged 60 and over and families with children under the age of 6 could apply. Then, from November 1st, households that have utilities disconnected or have a disconnection notice can submit their application. The rest of the families that require the support, will be able to start applying from December 1st.
How to Apply for LIHEAP in Illinois?
Thanks to the substantial funding of $237 million allocated to the Help Illinois Families Program, a multitude of households will now have the opportunity to benefit from the LIHEAP program, helping them counter the ever-increasing costs of utilities.
In alignment with the state’s commitment to equity, this year’s program has been designed with a clear focus on prioritizing families facing the most significant challenges, which are elderly citizens, young children, and those with disabilities, who can receive the essential support required to sustain their access to energy resources during the upcoming cold winter months.
As previously stated, the program will run from October 2, 2023, through August 15, 2024, 45 days longer than the 2022’s period, which was from September 1, 2022, to May 21, 2023.
“LIHEAP is an important resource for Illinois families and the program improvements will help prioritize families who need the most assistance,” said Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Director Kristin Richards. “Through a program year extension and tiered application periods, the State of Illinois is providing the resources necessary for reliable access to energy utilities.”
Braking Down the Illinois’ LIHEAP Application Period Stages
- October 2, 2023 – Income-eligible households who fall under the following categories:
- Households with seniors age 60+
- Households with a documented long-term disability
- Households with children under age 6
- November 1, 2023 – Income-eligible households who fall under the following categories:
- October priority period households
- Households that are disconnected
- Households facing imminent threat of disconnection
- December 1, 2023
- All income-eligible households
Last year, 311,000 households received LIHEAP, with an average of over $1,000 per household. Families that meet the specified criteria and provide the required documentation will receive assistance until the available funding is depleted. Those with incomes up to double the federal poverty level are eligible for support from LIHEAP. You can refer to the chart below to find the income thresholds for eligibility (household’s size and 30-day gross income):
- 1 person: $2,430
- 2 people: $3,287
- 3 people: $4,143
- 4 people: $5,000
- 5 people: $5,857
- 6 people: $6,713