The Lead

Annual Pa. home heating assistance program to start accepting applications Nov. 1

By: - October 31, 2022 4:07 pm

Reducing household energy use can contribute to slowing climate change (Image via Westend61/ Getty Images/The Conversation).

State officials announced Monday that they will begin accepting applications starting Nov. 1 for the annual program that provides assistance for home heating bills.

The Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federal program administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services to help low-income households heat their homes in the winter months. 

“LIHEAP helps some of the commonwealth’s most vulnerable people – children, older Pennsylvanians, people with disabilities, and families with low incomes – make ends meet and keep their home safe through the winter,” DHS Office of Income Maintenance Deputy Secretary Inez Titus said. “Nobody should ever have to worry that their heat will be shut off during the coldest and darkest months of the year.”

The 2022-23 LIHEAP season begins as many Americans face rising home energy bills due to inflation and Russia’s ongoing war with Ukraine. 

“Too often, we hear of hardworking people making tradeoffs like not filling a prescription, skipping meals, or refusing to seek health care to pay to keep a roof over their heads,” Jennifer Wintermyer, Chief Executive Officer at Tri-County Community Action said. “LIHEAP makes it easier for families living on low-income to provide a warm home without making those tradeoffs.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services reports that during the 2021-2022 LIHEAP season, 329,230 households statewide received $187,600,202 in LIHEAP cash benefits, and these households received an average season benefit of $570. 

Statewide, 112,029 households received $73,027,268 in LIHEAP crisis benefits, and these households received an average payment of $596, according to DHS. 

PUC officials encouraged Pennsylvanians struggling to pay utility bills to reach out to the companies to see what options are available to them. 

“Be sure to call all your utilities: electric, natural gas, water, wastewater, and telecommunications because each may have different programs or resources available,” PUC Vice Chairperson Stephen DeFrank said. 

Pennsylvanians can apply for LIHEAP online or by phone at 1-866-550-4355.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.