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LIHEAP HHS Poverty Guidelines for Optional Use in FFY 2015 and Mandatory Use in FFY 2016

Published: May 27, 2015
Audience:
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Category:
Guidance, Policies, Procedures, Information Memorandums (IM)

Low Income Home Energy Assistance

Information Memorandum

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Administration for Children and Families
Office of Community Services
Division of Energy Assistance
370 L'Enfant Promenade, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20447
https://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap

Transmittal No. LIHEAP-IM-2015-03                                       Date: May 27, 2015

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

GUIDANCE
INTENDED FOR:  X STATES
                              X TRIBES/TRIBAL ORGANIZATIONS
                              X TERRITORIES

TO:    LOW INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LIHEAP) GRANTEES

SUBJECT:    U.S.  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Poverty Guidelines for Optional Use in Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2015 LIHEAP Programs and Mandatory Use in FFY 2016 LIHEAP Programs

RELATED            (1)    The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Act, Title XXVI of the
REFERENCES:    Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, Public Law 97-35, as amended;

                             (2) 45 CFR 96.85 (a), Income Eligibility — Final Rule, published in the Federal Register March 3, 1988 (53 FR 6827) and   amended October 15, 1999 (64 FR 55858);
                             (3) Annual Update of the HHS Poverty Guidelines, Federal Register notice dated January 22, 2014 (79 FR 3593-3594).

PURPOSE:    To provide LIHEAP grantees the updates to the HHS Poverty Guidelines, (also called the Federal Poverty Guidelines or FPG), which the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) of HHS issued on January 22, 2015.  LIHEAP grantees that base their income-eligibility criteria on FPG may use such guidelines for their FFY 2015 programs and must use such guidelines for their FFY 2016 programs.

BACKGROUND:    Section 2605(b)(2)(B) of P.L. 97-35 establishes the following requirements that LIHEAP grantees must follow in setting the income-eligibility criteria of their programs:

  1. Grantees may make eligible solely on the basis of household income households with incomes which do not exceed the greater of—
    1. an amount equal to 150 percent of FPG for the State; or
    2. an amount equal to 60 percent of the State Median Income (SMI); and
  2. Grantees may not exclude from eligibility solely on the basis of income households with incomes which fall below 110 percent of FPG for such State—though grantees may give priority to those households with the highest home energy costs or needs in relation to household income.

CONTENT:    ASPE updated the FPG in a Federal Register notice that was published on January 22, 2015.

LIHEAP grantees that use FPG to set their income-eligibility criteria are to adopt such guidelines in the fashion indicated below:

Optional Use
LIHEAP grantees may adopt these guidelines at any time on or after January 22, 2015 (the date of publication in the Federal Register) and the latter of October 1, 2015 (the beginning of FFY 2016) or the beginning of their 2016 fiscal year.

Mandatory Use
LIHEAP grantees must adopt these guidelines by no later than the latter of October 1, 2015 (the beginning of FFY 2016) or the beginning of their 2016 fiscal year.

Federal Income Eligibility Range

All LIHEAP grantees must set their income-eligibility criteria between 110 percent of these guidelines and 150 percent of these guidelines. These limits are shown in Attachment 1.

ATTACHMENTS:   (1) 100 percent, 110 percent, 150 percent of the 2015 Federal Poverty Guidelines, adjusted by family size

INQUIRIES       Peter Edelman, Program Analyst
TO:                    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/
Jeannie L. Chaffin
Director
Office of Community Services

Last Reviewed: June 29, 2018