With rising prices and variable weather conditions, many households continue to struggle when it comes to paying for home energy costs. Fortunately, for those on the lower end of the income scale, there are several federally-funded state assistance programs.
Many may not be aware of these programs and so don’t apply to take advantage, despite various outreach programs. Hopefully the table below, which I will continue to expand upon, provides a summary of key energy assistance programs, available benefits and a link to the official state website for more guidelines and information.
In most states you can also work with local providers – utilities, builders and energy appliance sellers – to apply and get rebates under many of these energy assistance programs.
Also you will notice that many of these programs have similar names, e.g. LIHEAP, WAP. This indicates these programs are generally federally-funded but administered by the administering state for lower income households. See more on some of these programs later in the sections below.
Most energy assistance programs also have strict income qualification thresholds (tied to the federal poverty line) and local residency requirements.
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|State||Energy Assistance Programs||Estimated Average Savings/Assistance|
|Arizona||Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Home Energy Assistance Fund||$800|
|California||Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Home Energy Efficiency, Low-Income Weatherization Program’s (LIWP)||$1400|
|Florida||Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)||$700|
|Georgia||Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)||$600|
|Illinois||LIHEAP Energy Assistance||$900|
|Michigan||Michigan Energy Assistance Program (MEAP), State Emergency Relief (SER) Program, Home Heating Credit||$1100|
|New York||Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), HEAP Cooling Assistance Component (CAC), Heating Equipment Repair or Replacement Benefit, Clean and Tune Benefit||$1800|
|North Carolina||Low Income Energy Assistance (LIEAP)||$800|
|Ohio||Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), HEAP Summer Crisis Program, Electric Partnership Program (EPP), Home Weatherization Assistance Program (HWAP)||$1400|
|Pennsylvania||Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)||$300 to $1,000|
|Texas||Comprehensive Energy Assistance Program (CEAP), Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP)||$1300|
|Virginia||Energy Assistance Program (EAP) – Fuel Assistance, Crisis Assistance, and Cooling Assistance||$900|
Below are some of the more common federally-funded programs available in many states. Millions of low-income households can qualify for these benefits but need to proactively take advantage of them.
These programs are also normally reset and adjusted on annual basis based on updated guidelines and income qualification thresholds, so require participants to reapply or reconfirm eligibility for these programs on set intervals.
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Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
LIHEAP helps low-income households with their home energy bills; in the winter for heating and for cooling in the summer. Assistance is available for paying bills, weatherization and energy efficiency improvements and dealing with life-threatening energy crisis situations.
To be eligible for this benefit program, you must be a resident of the state who generally administers the program (“local administering agency”) under federal guidelines. You will also need to be under certain household based income-thresholds (often based on the federal poverty line) to qualify for funding assistance under this program.
Also note that funding for households is strictly limited under this program and paid at one-time, fixed or monthly intervals directly to certified agencies and local fuel/utility providers. Direct payments to individuals are rarely made.
Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is a related program to LIHEAP that helps with paying for water related costs.