Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

Houses need to survive during winter season. This means that the house should be properly built to endure the winter cold; maintain well insulated walls in order to keep in interior warn; and have a good heating system to further keep the temperature down to a livable condition. For most, these things are normal. But for others who can barely survive on a daily basis, keeping warm during the winter season is easier said than done.

Many families earning just enough are susceptible to the harshness of the winter cold for one main reason: they have no enough fund to maintain a heating system or pay for the electric bills.

Fortunately, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or the LIHEAP provides assistance to families that could not pay for their electric bills, especially during the winter season. And the program is available on all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Also, the program has reached a total of 5 insular areas and 128 Indian tribes or tribal organizations. This only shows that the LIHEAP is dedicated to provide various types of aids in every part of the country and reach the people who need most.

To areas that do not experience winter but experience scorching summer heat, the need for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is also essential. During the mid-day heat of the summer months, houses must be cooled down. And this calls for the use of air conditioning. And the use of air conditioning would equate to additional cost on home energy and thus adding to the burden of households that only earn below the average.

Types of aids

LIHEAP’s aid comes in different forms. Here are those:

· cash,

· fuel,

· prepaid utility bills,

· vouchers,

· stamps, and

· coupons

All these can be used in exchange for home energy.

Payments and priorities differ to accommodate those households with the highest level of need. They are those with lowest income but with highest energy cost with respect to the income. It also takes into account the family size.

Eligibility

To be eligible to enter into the program, you must represent a household.

Household is defined as living together as one economic unit as an individual or within a group of individuals. The individual or group of individuals must be purchasing and using common residential energy, either directly or through rent. You can also be awarded with the grant if there are members of your household that are receiving benefits from Food Stamps, needs-tested veterans‘ benefits SSI, or the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.

You can also be awarded with the grant if your household’s income is under the greater 150% of the set guidelines or 60% of the median income of the state. Households may not be disqualified if its’ income falls less than 110% of the poverty guidelines.

Application

Application for the LIHEAP is available both on the internet and offices of your Federal government. On the internet, the forms are downloadable which can be emailed back. It is also okay to visit the Federal government that caters this and get application there. There are governments that offer downloadable forms and require you to personally visit the office where you can submit your form.

The length of the application process depends on state to state. Often, you they require 1 week processing time. Some would even last for 2 months. You may want to check on specific processing duration from your state.

Types of program
There are several types of LIHEAP on each state. Most of the time, the programs are different from one state to another. Make sure you visit your state’s site in order to get the specific programs that are offered and you can apply for.

Here is some of the basic assistance the state offers. Take note that some might not exist on your state.

· minor repairs,

· furnace and chimney cleaning

· making your home energy efficient

· furnace replacements

· energy cost reduction devices

· emergency assistance, and

· heating assistance

To get specific details on the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, contact your federal government and ask on the details or visit their online sites.