If you’re already worried about the struggling with home heating during the forthcoming cold months, well, stop worrying and start thinking about staying comfortable in your own home. That’s where the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the New Jersey’s Universal Service Fund (USF) come to your aid.
LIHEAP, designed to alleviate the financial burden of home heating and medically necessary temperature-controlling costs, is open for applications from October 1, 2023, to June 30, 2024. The state of New Jersey encourages low-income families and individuals struggling to make ends meet during harsh weather conditions to apply as soon as possible.
Apply Now for LIHEAP in New Jersey and Pay Your Bills on Time
To apply for LIHEAP, there are several ways available. You can conveniently apply online at www.energyassistance.nj.gov. Alternatively, you may seek assistance from authorized local community action agencies, community-based organizations, or outreach agencies in your county.
For senior citizens aged 60 or older or those with disabilities, applications can be received and returned by mail, or they can request a home visit from the outreach agency in their county of residence. Other households can apply by mail at the discretion of the local agency.
Eligibility for LIHEAP benefits is determined by two main prerequisites. First, the applicant household must be responsible for home heating or cooling costs, either through direct payment or as part of their rent. Second, the gross income of the household must not exceed 60% of the State Median Income. The specific monthly gross income maximums for FFY 2024 are outlined in the chart below (household’s size and monthly income):
- 1 person: $3,676
- 2 people: $4,807
- 3 people: $5,938
- 4 people: $7,069
- 5 people: $8,200
- 6 people: $9,331
- 7 people: $9,543
- 8 people: $9,755
- 9 people: $9,968
- 10 people: $10,180
- 11 people: $10,392
- 12 people: $$ 10,604
- Any additional member after 12: add $213
Who Does Not Qualify for LIHEAP in New Jersey?
Those individuals living in public housing or receiving rental assistance are generally not eligible for assistance unless they directly pay for their heating costs to the fuel supplier. Additionally, LIHEAP offers medically necessary cooling assistance. Eligible households can receive a $500 benefit, which will be credited directly to their active electric account or issued as a one-party check to the eligible applicant.
New Jersey’s USF: Making Energy Bills More Affordable
The Universal Service Fund (USF) program, also part of the New Jersey initiative, aims to make natural gas and electric bills more affordable for low-income households. It’s a complementary support system that works in tandem with LIHEAP to provide a holistic solution for energy cost management.
To qualify for USF, a household’s gross income must not exceed 60% of the State Median Income. The income guidelines listed below provide a clear reference:
- For households with electric heating, the expenditure on electricity should be more than 4% of their annual income.
- For households with other heating sources, spending on electricity or natural gas should be more than 2% of their annual income.
You can find further information in the official website http://www.energyassistance.nj.gov/.