As the scorching temperatures persist and the heat index soars into the triple digits, many residents may be apprehensive about ensuring their safety at home, particularly if they are struggling to cover their electric bills. Fortunately, there are several assistance programs in place to lend a helping hand, although meeting specific eligibility criteria is necessary. One such program available in Florida is the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
This is a federally funded initiative that aims to assist those low-income families that are having a hard time paying their energy bills. The Florida Department of Commerce administers LIHEAP and disburses the funds to a network of local providers. The resources are not given directly to residents, but, don’t worry: here is all you need to know to request it now.
LIHEAP assistance in Florida: Who qualifies and how to apply
In the state of Florida, the possibility of applying for LIHEAP aid depends on the funds available in your county, and you can receive it up to three times a year, but not every month. The program can help you pay for natural gas or propane bills in the winter, but also cooling needs in the winter. As mentioned before, money never passes through your hands without going directly from the LIHEAP program to your energy service provider.
You may be eligible to receive benefits in Florida if you meet the following requirements:
- Your total household income does not exceed 60% of the average income of the state of Florida. Income eligibility ranges from a maximum annual income of $27,735 for a household or 1 person, to $73,605 for a family of 8.
- The applicant must be the responsible for paying the cooling-related energy bills.
- Must reside in Florida.
- Must be a US citizen, or qualifying immigrant, permanently living in the United States.
In you fulfill these requisites, you must get in touch with your county’s LIHEAP responsible office. Discover where is your local agency located in this website.
The EHEAP, especially for the elderly, helps with utility bills and related repairs
The Emergency Home Energy Assistance for the Elderly Program, abbreviated as EHEAP, is also a federally funded initiative designed to provide 100% assistance with home energy costs for elderly individuals. Eligible seniors have the opportunity to receive up to $5,000 in financial aid.
Qualified households have the option to receive multiple crisis benefits throughout the program year. These payments are disbursed either directly to the energy service provider or through a two-party check issued to both the vendor and the client. The eligible energy sources covered include electricity, natural gas, propane, fuel oil, kerosene, or wood. For a comprehensive list of providers in each area, please refer to the appropriate resources.
Benefits may be used for the next needs:
- Pre-paying energy bills.
- Purchasing bed clothing, portable fans, space heaters, and window air conditioners.
- Repairing an existing cooling unit (or heating during cold months).
- Charges from a now-closed account previously held by the elder resident.
- Deposits to connect or restore utilities.
- Late, disconnect, and reconnect fees.
- Utility costs that are included in rent.
- Temporary shelter due to an energy-related emergency.
To be eligible for assistance, households must comply to the next requirements:
- Have a documented heating or cooling emergency or crisis.
- At least one individual who’s 60 years old (or older) in the home.
- A household’s total gross income with one to eight individuals’ incomes are calculated correctly and are at or below 60% of the state median income.
How many times a year can you receive LIHEAP assistance?
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded program that provides financial aid to low-income households to manage their energy bills. The LIHEAP assistance is typically paid as a lump sum sent directly to a utility company or fuel dealer on behalf of the beneficiary or household. This is typically done once per year, but may be sent in smaller amounts (in greater frequency) to allow the state to better manage its funds.
In Arizona, for example, LIHEAP eligibility is limited to once in a 12-month period for a Regular LIHEAP benefit and once in a 12-month period for a Crisis LIHEAP benefit.