The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in the state of New Jersey is a vital initiative that aims to assist low-income households with their energy bills. Operating under the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), LIHEAP provides financial aid to eligible families and individuals during the colder months, when energy costs tend to rise due to heating needs.
The primary goal of LIHEAP is to ensure that vulnerable individuals and families can afford to heat their homes, thereby reducing the risk of energy insecurity, health-related issues, and other challenges that can arise from living in cold environments. The program offers both regular and emergency benefits. This cash is provided to families once a year, when the energy bills skyrocket due to extreme temperatures.
Qualifying for the LIHEAP program in New Jersey
Assistance is granted based on a first-come, first-served approach, urging applicants to promptly submit their applications upon meeting the eligibility criteria. If you meet the requirements for cooling expense assistance, it’s advisable to apply for this support concurrently with your application for heating cost aid.
In order to qualify for LIHEAP benefits, the applying household must bear responsibility for home for cooling or heating expenses, which are paid either directly to the utility company or included in the rental fees. Additionally, the household’s gross income must not exceed 60% of the New Jersey State Median Income level. The table provided below outlines the specific maximum gross income thresholds for the Fiscal Year 2023.
Individuals residing in public housing and/or benefiting from rental assistance are ineligible, except if they directly cover their heating or cooling costs with the fuel supplier. The amount of the LIHEAP heating benefit is determined based on income, household size, fuel type, and heating region. The medically necessary cooling assistance benefit stands at $200, applied as a direct credit to an active electric account or issued as a singular payment check to the recipient.
How much could you claim from the LIHEAP program in New Jersey
In order to qualify, a household’s total income must either be at or below 400% of the Federal Poverty Level. Additionally, the household should spend more than 3% of its yearly income on electricity or more than 3% on natural gas. If a household utilizes electric heating or cooling, it must allocate more than 6% of its annual income to cover electricity expenses to meet the eligibility criteria.
The benefits granted range from $5 to $180 per month, and these payments are applied on a monthly basis directly to the utility accounts. It’s important to note that funds are not directly disbursed to clients.
These USF (Universal Service Fund) benefits are exclusively accessible to customers of the seven regulated electric energy companies operating in New Jersey. These companies include: New Jersey Natural Gas Company, Elizabethtown Gas Company, South Jersey Gas Company, Public Service Electric & Gas Company, Rockland Electric Company, Jersey Central Power & Light, and Atlantic City Electric Company.