The application window for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in Illinois is set to open on October 2nd and will remain accessible until August 15th of the following year. This initiative, known as the Help Illinois Families Program, allocated an impressive $237 million in 2023 to provide essential utility assistance to eligible households across the state. This article delves into the details of this program, shedding light on the eligibility criteria and the application process for those seeking vital energy bill assistance.
To benefit from LIHEAP, certain eligibility criteria must be met. LIHEAP primarily targets low-income households. Typically, households with incomes at or below 150% of the federal poverty level are eligible. Your household’s size also impacts in the eligibility. Larger households may have higher income limits to qualify. Finally, you must be a resident of Illinois and responsible for paying your energy bills directly if you’re looking forward to applying.
How to Apply for LIHEAP Assistance in Illinois
First, qualifying families should go to the official website helpillinoisfamilies.com to “submit a request for services.” After that request is received, an email or phone call to review and confirm your eligibility will follow, which could take a “few weeks,” the website says.
The state authorities have projected a potential response time frame that may vary from a matter of days to several weeks. This timeline is contingent upon factors such as the date of your submission, the availability of funds, and the specific nature of the services you have requested.
When you get requested to assist to an interview, you will be asked to bring (but not limited to) these documents:
- Provide proof of the past 30-day income through paystub, check, or copy of check showing fixed income amount (e.g. SSA, VA, DHS benefits). Also, bring any other documentation to prove additional incomes.
- The utility bills you want to be covered with the LIHEAP assistance.
- Lease documentation, if seeking rental assistance.
- Social security card or ITIN for residents who have them. According to the state, residents without a social security card or a ITIN card can still apply.
The application process for LIHEAP assistance could take up to 45 days. The guys from your local agency will let you know in writing within the next 30 days (after filling the application). If your application is approved, the grant will be issued either to you or to the utility company within 15 days after. If you are denied LIHEAP assistance, you can appeal.
What type of utility bills are covered by LIHEAP?
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federal program that assists low-income households with their home energy costs. It primarily assists households with their immediate home energy needs, especially those with the lowest incomes that pay a high proportion of household income for home energy. The types of utility bills covered by LIHEAP are directly related to heating or cooling a home.
Specifically, LIHEAP helps to cover utility bills for:
- Other types of heating fuel, such as oil, coal, propane, kerosene and wood or wood pellets.
In some cases, LIHEAP funds can be used for water bills if the home is cooled by an evaporative cooler or heated with a boiler.