HHS Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides formula grants to states to help low-income households pay for their home energy needs, including weatherization and energy efficiency (CFDA Program Number 93.568). It especially focuses on assisting households where a high percentage of income is spent on energy costs. The program has helped insulate the homes of millions of families using low-cost techniques that have large payoffs, saving money for those families and curtailing U.S. energy consumption.

Purpose: LIHEAP helps keep families safe and healthy through initiatives that assist families with energy costs.

Eligible Uses: LIHEAP provides federally funded assistance in managing costs associated with:

  • Bill payment assistance
  • Energy crisis assistance
  • Weatherization (as much as 15-25% of block grants) or energy efficiency improvements
  • Energy-related home repairs

LIHEAP seeks to reduce the risk of health and safety problems that arise from unsafe heating and cooling practices. It has also helped establish weatherization job training centers in states, such as Utah and New York.

Potential Adaptation Uses: Since a portion of LIHEAP funds can go to cost-effective weatherization of dwellings, LIHEAP can be used to install heat-smart measures on houses such as window shades and cool roofs.

If permitted by the respective state, LIHEAP assistance can be used for disaster relief to alleviate an emergency situation related to weather, supply shortages, or other household energy issues such as electricity reconnection.

Eligible Grantees (and subgrantees): All states are eligible to receive LIHEAP funds.

The LIHEAP statute establishes 150 percent of the poverty level as the maximum income level allowed in determining LIHEAP income eligibility, except where 60 percent of state median income is higher. Income eligibility criteria for LIHEAP may not be set lower than 110 percent of the poverty. Under the law, LIHEAP grantees have the flexibility of serving households having at least one member who also receives assistance under any of the following Federal programs (referred to as categorical eligibility):

  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • Food Stamps (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
  • Certain Veteran Benefits

Process and Requirements: LIHEAP assistance is provided locally by organizations selected by the state. States, insular areas, and federal or state-recognized Indian tribes/tribal organizations can submit to the Federal government an application that describes their LIHEAP programs, provides required assurances about how they will run their programs, and certain other information required by the LIHEAP statute. LIHEAP grantees must obtain timely and meaningful public participation in developing their application. Applicants can locate the energy assistance office in their area by contacting the National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) line at 1-866-674-6327 or energy@ncat.org. NEAR is a free service providing information on where you can apply for LIHEAP.

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) provides up to date information on recent appropriations to this program from Congress, the average size of grants, and matching requirements.  A summary is included here, but check the CFDA for more up to date information:

  • Recent Obligations: FY 15 $3,391,640,422; FY 16 est. $3,360,316,000; and FY 17 est. $2,970,304,000 (Competitive Grants: FY 2016 est. $27,000,000; FY 2017 est. $27,000,000). The initial release for FY 17 was $3,009,283,960. It is anticipated that 279 grants will be awarded, 211 formula grants, and 68 competitive grants.
  • Size of Grants: Average is $16,363,845.
  • Matching Requirement: This program has no matching requirements.

Authorization: Low Income Home Energy Assistance Act of 1981, as amended; The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981; Energy Policy Act of 2005, Public Law 109-58. Authorizing statutes for the program can be found at 42 U.S.C. §8621 et seq.; regulations on the program are available at 45 C.F.R. § 96.

Publication Date: August 1, 1999

Related Organizations:

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Sectors:

Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Funding program

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