The Lead

Everything you need to know about LIHEAP

By: - November 17, 2023 6:00 am

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Dr. Val Arkoosh speaks during a press conference to announce the start of the annual Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) application process for the 2023-24 season on Wed., Nov. 1, 2023 (Commonwealth Media Service photo).

Applications for Pennsylvania’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) are now open for the 2023-24 season, which runs from Nov. 1 to April 5.

Here’s what you need to know about the program:  

What is LIHEAP?

LIHEAP is a statewide program, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, that helps families living on low incomes pay their heating bills through a cash grant or crisis grant, if applicable. 

During the 2022-2023 LIHEAP season, 312,169 households statewide received more than $125 million in LIHEAP cash benefits, and these households received an average season benefit of $402, according to DHS data. 

Over the same period, more than 135,000 Pennsylvania households received more than $98 million in LIHEAP crisis benefits, receiving an average payment of $688.

“LIHEAP embodies more than just heating assistance; it serves as a foundational cornerstone for overall well-being,” Jen Wintermyer, chief executive officer at Tri-County Community Action, said of the program. “It’s not only about keeping families warm, but also about maintaining their unity within communities, their involvement in education, and their role as productive citizens. Without this program, thousands would face homelessness, entering a detrimental cycle that would erode family stability, employment, and more, ultimately pushing them further behind.”

Who is eligible for LIHEAP?

The income limit for LIHEAP is 150% 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.  

Income requirements are determined by the size of the applicant’s household. A one-person household has an income limit of $21,870 per year while a family of four has an income limit of $45,000. 

To be eligible for the program:

  • You must meet income guidelines,
  • You don’t have to be on public assistance,
  • You don’t need to have an unpaid heating bills,
  • You can rent or own your home. 

How can I apply?

Pennsylvanians can apply for LIHEAP two ways — online or by paper application at their local County Assistance Office.

“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,” DHS Secretary Val Arkoosh said. “If you or someone you know needs help or could benefit from this program, I encourage you to apply for LIHEAP today.” 

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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.