2022 has been a difficult year financially for many Americans. And at the same time utility prices are continuing to rise.
With winter almost upon us many people are having to fire up their heaters, but it will come at a steep cost this year.
If you feel overwhelmed by high utility bills, you are not alone.
Millions of Americans are having trouble covering their utility costs during these difficult times.
The good news is that help may be available to those who can’t afford their electric, heating and water bills.
There are a number of programs designed to help Americans with exactly this issue.
Every state in the U.S. distributes money from the federal government to help people afford heating their homes in the winter.
The new round of money — to the sum of $4.5 billion — was announced in early November.
Today let’s look at the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (or LIHEAP Grant), and how to find out if you qualify for funds.
LIHEAP is run by the Department of Health and Human Services. Low-income households who are eligible can get government assistance to help offset their utility bills. Furthermore, aid is also available for certain households to help them properly winterize their homes to help reduce monthly utility costs. In 2020, an estimated 5.2 millions households received LIHEAP money. Here’s more about these programs, via The Resource Assistant:
The Home Energy Assistance Program – This program offers direct financial aid to those who are struggling to pay their bills, but there are specific requirements to qualify for this aid. Priority is given to senior citizens or those with a disability that prevents them from earning a living. Learn more about what it takes to qualify for this program here: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/resource/liheap-fact-sheet-0
Weatherization Assistance Program. This program is designed to help consumers in the long-term giving them access to a professional energy service to come to their home and perform an energy assessment. This assessment will assist with how to best conserve energy and weatherize their home for long-term utility savings. The service could provide free or significantly discounted weatherstripping, attic insulation, furnace maintenance, and home repairs that then lead to significantly reduced energy bills. These improvements have an impact in both summer and winter months.
Citizens Energy Oil Heat Program. This program has helped tens of thousands of Americans cover their utilities bill. This oil heat program is from the Citizens Energy Corporation, a non-profit organization that began in 1979, with the goal to provide discounted or free heating services and supplies to homes in need. If your home operates on oil, then this is the organization to call. They have delivered millions of gallons of discounted heating oil to American families in need. Priority is mainly given to the elderly, low income families, and households that have been recently impacted by an unexpected event, such as losing a job or a natural disaster.
Most of the money available in these programs is set aside for low-income households.
States set the income limits for their programs, but they are not allowed to set it above 160% or below 110% of the federal poverty level.
If you are interested in applying for LIHEAP assistance and to find out more information about whether you’d be eligible, visit https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/623.
Here at Wise Money Life we are on a mission to help everyday Americans find ways to save money and increase their quality of life. Thank you for reading and make sure you take advantage of all the programs available to you and your families.