Access to heating and cooling is one of the most important utilities, especially during the winter and summer months. If your household struggles to pay utility bills to keep your home comfortable during extreme temperatures, you may be interested in learning about financial assistance programs available from the government.
Keep reading to learn more about LIHEAP, one of a few energy assistance programs in the U.S. that could help you.
It’s important to note that some states and territories only have the LIHEAP application open during a certain period of the year. That’s because some states limit LIHEAP funding to ensure it’s used when it’s most needed — during the most dangerous times of year.
For example, states with really high temperatures in the summer may have the application open in the few months before the summer and a few months after.
If you want to apply for LIHEAP, you can call the LIHEAP phone number at 1-866-674-6327, which is a 24/7, toll-free line. You will go through multiple menus to find your LIHEAP office, get information about how to qualify for the program, and speak directly to a representative, who are available weekdays between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. EST.
You can also find your state’s LIHEAP office through the LIHEAP page on Benefits.gov and call it directly, too.
You may be able to apply for energy assistance online as well. Go to the LIHEAP Clearinghouse website from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. There, you’ll find links to search for your state, territory, or tribe’s LIHEAP office.
Once you find your local LIHEAP office, you can apply via the online application portal, if your local office uses one.
You often need to register for an account by providing information like:
- Your full name
- Your Social Security number (SSN)
- Your birthdate
- Your phone number
After you create an account, you typically need to provide information about your annual household income, size of your household, whether you’ve previously received LIHEAP benefits, whether you or anyone in your household receives other government assistance, and more.
You can also email the National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) project at firstname.lastname@example.org. NEAR is a free service where you can ask questions about qualifying for or applying for LIHEAP.
This is a nationwide contact option, so you can only get information about national qualification guidelines, information about available LIHEAP assistance, and the contact information for your local LIHEAP office.
NEAR can connect you to a local representative who can answer specific questions about your qualification, application, and current LIHEAP benefits.
After you apply for LIHEAP benefits, you can return to the online portal and login to check the status of your LIHEAP application online. If you are denied benefits, you have a right to appeal.
The appeals process can vary from state to state. You should reach out to your LIHEAP office to determine how long you have to submit an appeal, what steps you need to take to appeal the decision, and start the process.