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LIHEAP IM 2011-9 State Median Income Estimates for Optional Use in FY 2011

Published: June 2, 2011
Audience:
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Category:
Guidance, Policies, Procedures, Information Memorandums (IM)
Transmittal No.  LIHEAP-IM-2011-09 Date:  June 2, 2011
TO:

LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LIHEAP) GRANTEES AND OTHER INTERESTED PARTIES

GUIDANCE
INTENDED FOR: 

__X__STATES

__X__TRIBES/TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS

__X__TERRITORIES

SUBJECT:

State Median Income Estimates for Optional Use in Federal Fiscal Year 2011 LIHEAP Programs and Mandatory Use in Federal Fiscal Year 2012 LIHEAP Programs.

RELATED
REFERENCES:

  1. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Act, Title XXVI of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, Public Law 97-35, as amended;
  2. 45 CFR 96.85 (b), Income Eligibility — Final Rule, published in the Federal Register on March 3, 1988 (53 FR 6827) and amended October 15, 1999 (64 FR 55858); and
  3. Annual Update of the LIHEAP State Median Income estimates, published in the Federal Register on April 18, 2011 (76 FR 21750-21752).

PURPOSE:

To provide to LIHEAP grantees the State Median Income (SMI) estimates for use in LIHEAP programs for Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2012.

BACKGROUND:

Section 2605(b)(2)(B) of P.L. 97-35 sets the maximum allowed in determining income eligibility for LIHEAP at 60 percent of SMI, except where 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) is higher.  The continuing resolutions (CRs) in FFY 2011 permitted grantees the same allowable level in effect for FFY 2010 (as well as for FFY 2009).  Public Law (P.L.) 112-10, enacted on April 15, 2011, provided final FFY 2011 appropriations for the LIHEAP program and directed a return to the LIHEAP statutory maximum of 60 percent of SMI. 

CONTENT:

 

Using the Census Bureau’s updated figures, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) calculated 60 percent of SMI for four-person families and published the results in the Federal Register on April 18, 2011.  Using those figures and the methodology specified in 45 CFR 96.85, HHS also calculated 60 percent of SMI for households of one-to-six persons.  HHS is publishing the resulting figures in this memorandum.  It is also publishing the methodology that shows how to calculate 60 percent of SMI for households of more than six persons.  See Attachment 1 for the complete Federal Register notice and Attachment 2 for (1) the 60 percent of SMI figures for households sizes one through six; and (2) the instructions for calculating 60 percent of SMI for households sizes greater than six.

Except as described below, grantees must limit LIHEAP eligibility to 150 percent of the FPG or 60 percent of SMI.  Grantees must cap LIHEAP income-eligibility at or below the greater of these two levels; however, they may not cap LIHEAP income-eligibility below 110 percent of the FPG.

Special Note for FFY 2011

With the enactment of P.L. 112-10 on April 15, 2011, grantees may only qualify those LIHEAP applicants that are income eligible up to the 60 percent of SMI threshold. The use of 75 percent of SMI is no longer allowable.  However, any FFY 2011 LIHEAP funds awarded to grantees prior to April 15 (including block and contingency funds) may be provided to eligible households up to 75 percent of SMI.  LIHEAP funds awarded to grantees after April 15 must adhere to the provisions under P.L. 112-10 that now require the use of 60 percent of SMI as the LIHEAP income maximum going forward.

Grantees are not out of compliance if they chose to set eligibility and provide benefits to qualified households in FFY 2011 above 60 percent, but no more that 75 percent of SMI, prior to April 15.  Grantees were allowed to use or maintain the use of 75 percent of SMI from FY 2010.  HHS is not requiring grantees to hold public hearings if the provisions under P.L. 112-10 mean that they will need to change their LIHEAP eligibility maximum for the remainder of FFY 2011.  As with all LIHEAP funds, grantees should be able to adequately track and document program obligations and expenditures.

Optional Use

LIHEAP grantees, insofar as they use SMI to set their programs’ income eligibility criteria, may adopt these estimates at any time between April 18, 2011 (the date of publication in the Federal Register) and the later of (1) October 1, 2011 (the beginning of FFY 2012); or (2) the beginning of the grantee’s fiscal year.

Mandatory Use

LIHEAP grantees, insofar as they use SMI to set their programs’ income eligibility criteria, must adopt these estimates by the later of (1) October 1, 2011 (the beginning of FFY 2012); or (2) the beginning of the grantee’s fiscal year.

ATTACHMENTS:

(1) Federal Register Notice, published on April 18, 2011 (76 FR 21750-21752)

(2) 60 percent of estimated State median income adjusted for family size, by State, FFY 2012

INQUIRIES:

Peter Edelman, Program Analyst
Division of Energy Assistance
Office of Community Services, ACF, HHS
370 L'Enfant Promenade, S.W.
Washington, D.C.  20447
(202) 401-5292
E-mail: peter.edelman@acf.hhs.gov

 

 

_______/s/_________________
Nick St. Angelo
Director
Division of Energy Assistance
Office of Community Services