LIHEAP Fact Sheet for FY 2014
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federal program established in 1981 and funded annually by Congress. These federal dollars are released directly to states, territories, tribes and the District of Columbia who use the funds to provide energy assistance to low-income households. LIHEAP offers financial assistance to qualifying low-income households to help them pay their home heating or cooling bills. Under federal law, a household must have income below either 150 percent of the federal poverty level or 60 percent of state median income level, whichever is higher. However, states can set lower income thresholds if they choose to. Some states use non-federal funds to expand their programs to include more households or to provide higher benefits.
LIHEAP provides important help to families struggling to make ends meet. LIHEAP assistance can help a household avoid having its utilities shut off or help reestablish service after a disruption. LIHEAP also can help pay ongoing heating and cooling costs, assisting families who may have a hard time paying utility bills and meeting other basic household expenses such as food, prescriptions, rent, or child care. In addition, LIHEAP helps some households by weatherizing their homes, making them more energy efficient.
FY 2014 Allocations under the Current Continuing Resolution
HHS is making available a total of $2.93 billion in FY 2014 LIHEAP block grant funds under the current Continuing Resolution (CR), which runs through January 15, 2014. This represents 90 percent of the full year funds for states, tribes and territories. This level gives states certainty to plan for their upcoming heating season while allowing Congress flexibility in setting its final funding level for the program in a final 2014 appropriation, as required by the CR.
Allocations under the LIHEAP Statute
The formulas for distributing LIHEAP are set by Congress. The law requires that funds be distributed taking into consideration the states’ current and historic shares of home energy expenditures by low-income households. The factors that are incorporated in the formula include changes in temperature, fuel source, prices, and the number of low-income households in each state. Each year, these factors are determined based on recent data available and, thus, a state’s share of funding can change modestly from year to year.
Information about LIHEAP and where to apply
Applicants can call the National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) project. NEAR is a free service providing information on where you can apply for LIHEAP. ACF funds the NEAR hotline through the LIHEAP Clearinghouse which is under contract to the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). Applicants can: