The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) announced the start of the annual Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) application process for the 2021-22 season.
Acting Secretary Meg Snead joined Monday Public Utility Commission (PUC) Chair Gladys Brown Dutrieuille to notify the start of the proceedings to apply for the federally funded program that provides assistance for home heating bills so low-income Pennsylvanians can be protected during the winter months.
The Energy assistance program is available for renters and homeowners. The LIHEAP application period has been extended for this season and is open from October 18, 2021, to May 6, 2022.
DHS is able to provide increased LIHEAP benefits for this season due to the availability of funds through the federal American Rescue Plan Act. This means an increase in the minimum LIHEAP cash grant from $200 to a minimum grant of $500, and an increase in the maximum cash grant from $1,000 to a maximum of $1,500.
People who meet the poverty limits and are in jeopardy of having their heating utility service terminated may access the LIHEAP crisis grant. Through this benefit they will see the maximum crisis grant increase from $600 to a maximum of $1,200.
The energy assistance 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.
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The income limit for the program is 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Limit. For a household of four, this would be $39,750 gross income per year. Pennsylvanians do not need to know their own eligibility in order to apply for these programs. Those who applied and were denied previously but have experienced a change in circumstances can reapply.
Safe during the winter
“LIHEAP helps some of the commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens, children, older Pennsylvanians, people with disabilities, and low-income families make ends meet and keep their home safe through the winter. I encourage anyone who may need help, or anyone who has loved ones or neighbors who could benefit from this program, to apply for LIHEAP today,” said Acting Secretary Snead.
Pennsylvanians can apply for LIHEAP and other public assistance programs online at www.compass.state.pa.us or by phone at 1-866-550-4355.