Provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services:
Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh and Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) Chairman Stephen DeFrank, Vice Chair Kim Barrow, and Commissioner Kathryn Zerfuss this week announced the start of the annual Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) application process for the 2023-2024 season.
LIHEAP is a federally-funded program administered by DHS that helps with home heating bills so Pennsylvanians with low incomes can stay warm and safe during the winter months. Assistance is available for renters and homeowners.
The LIHEAP application period for both cash and crisis grants is open from November 1, 2023, to April 5, 2024.
“Keeping your home warm during the coldest and darkest months of the year is a necessity, not a luxury. Every Pennsylvanian deserves the dignity and peace of mind of knowing that their heat will not be shut off this winter and they can keep themselves and their families safe and warm,” said Arkoosh. “LIHEAP helps many of our fellow Pennsylvanians make ends meet by providing cash or crisis grants directly to their utility or home heating fuel provider. If you or someone you know needs help or could benefit from this program, I encourage you to apply for LIHEAP today.”
LIHEAP is distributed directly to a household’s utility company or home heating fuel provider in the form of a grant, so the individual or households do not have to repay assistance. While last season’s LIHEAP benefits were supplemented by additional American Rescue Plan dollars, this season’s benefits will return to more traditional amounts. The minimum LIHEAP cash grant is $300, and the maximum cash grant is $1,000.
The LIHEAP crisis grant is for people who meet the income limits and are in jeopardy of having their heating utility service terminated, have a broken heating equipment have already had their heating utility service terminated, or who are out of or have less than two weeks’ worth of deliverable fuel, such as fuel oil, propane, coal, or wood. The minimum LIHEAP crisis grant is $25, and the maximum crisis grant is $1,000.
“Working in combination, the annual winter LIHEAP grants along with various PUC-required utility assistance programs help hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania households stay connected, safe, and warm,” said DeFrank. “We strongly encourage families to apply for LIHEAP and also #CallUtilitiesNow to discuss all the affordability options that are available.”
During the 2022-2023 LIHEAP season, 312,169 households statewide received $125,572,518 in LIHEAP cash benefits, and these households received an average season benefit of $402. More than 135,000 households statewide received $98,923,752 in LIHEAP crisis benefits, and these households received an average payment of $688.
The income limit for LIHEAP is 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level; for an individual, that is a gross income of $21,870 per year, and for a family of four, that is a gross income of $45,000 per year.
Pennsylvanians can apply for LIHEAP and other public assistance programs online at dhs.pa.gov/COMPASS or by phone at 1-866-550-4355. Pennsylvanians do not need to know their own eligibility to apply for these programs. Those who have applied and were denied previously but have experienced a change in circumstances can reapply.
More information about LIHEAP is available at dhs.pa.gov/liheap.