As energy prices continue to rise, it’s getting increasingly more expensive to heat your home. From last year, electricity prices have increased close to 15% and natural gas prices about 25% (opens in new tab). Overall, it’s estimated that between 2020 and 2023, the cost of home energy would increase by more than 35% (opens in new tab). Therefore, many are looking for ways to save on energy costs as the temperatures start to drop.
If you’re finding it hard to afford your heating bill this winter, and dropping your thermostat (opens in new tab) just isn’t cutting it, you may be eligible for energy assistance. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced $4.5 billion in heating assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
These funds are designed to “lower costs and give working and middle-class American families more breathing room”, says a statement from the government. (opens in new tab)
Funds will go to states, territories, and tribes to subsidize home heating costs and cover unpaid utility bills. Funds will also be used to help families make cost-effective home energy repairs that will further lower their energy bills.
“For more than 40 years, this program has helped low-income families pay their home heating and cooling bills,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra (opens in new tab). “As heating costs increase, it is more important than ever to help families struggling to make ends meet. With this funding, we will help protect the health and well-being of Americans by keeping them safe and warm this winter.”
How to apply for assistance
To receive benefits, you must need financial assistance with home energy costs. Additionally, your annual household income must be below a certain amount as well, which can be determined by the eligibility chart below (opens in new tab).
|Household size||Max annual Income level|
If your household has more than eight people, add $7,080 per additional person to determine your annual household income limit.
If you or members of your family are also participants in other benefit programs, like SNAP or SSI, then you may be automatically eligible.
If you believe you are eligible to receive energy assistance through LIHEAP, you’ll have to apply through your state. However, the LIHEAP website (opens in new tab) conveniently lists appropriate contact information for each state. If you need further information on the program, you can also contact the National Energy Assistance Referral project (NEAR) by email at email@example.com. They’ll be able to assist you with applying for LIHEAP.