HARRISBURG, PA — Department of Human Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Meg Snead says that support from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is still available. The LIHEAP season has also been extended by two weeks, from May 6 to May 20, 2022, allowing additional households the opportunity to apply for LIHEAP Cash and LIHEAP Crisis benefits.
“Pennsylvanians may still need help with their heating and water bills, and those who do should know that programs like LIHEAP and LIHWAP are still available. Households who could benefit from this program should apply today,” said Secretary Snead. “LIHEAP and LIHWAP help some of the commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens – children, older Pennsylvanians, people with disabilities, and low-income families – make ends meet and keep their homes safer.”
LIHEAP is a federally funded program administered by DHS that provides assistance for home heating bills so low-income Pennsylvanians can stay warm and safe in their homes. Assistance is available for renters and homeowners, and the LIHEAP application season is currently open until May 20, 2022.
DHS has been able to provide increased benefits for this extended LIHEAP season due to the availability of funds through the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The minimum cash grant for LIHEAP is $500, and the maximum cash grant is $1,500. Those who need the LIHEAP crisis grant – the benefit for people who meet the poverty limits and are in jeopardy of having their heating utility service terminated or have less than two weeks’ worth of fuel – can receive a maximum grant of $1,200. LIHEAP is distributed directly to a household’s utility company or home heating fuel provider in the form of a grant, so the individual or households do not have to repay assistance.
The income limit for the program is 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Limit. For a household of four, this would be $39,750 gross income per year. Pennsylvanians do not need to know their own eligibility in order to apply for these programs. Those who applied and were denied previously but have experienced a change in circumstances can reapply.
The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) helps Pennsylvanians with low incomes maintain access to drinking and wastewater services. Assistance is available for families who have past due water bills, had their service terminated, or received a notice indicating that their service will be terminated in the next 60 days. Households can receive LIHWAP grants for both drinking water service and wastewater service. Grants are issued directly to water service providers, and families must meet income requirements.
LIHWAP is a new, temporary assistance program established through the American Rescue Plan Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. These funds are part of the nation’s continued response to families experiencing financial difficulties due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Pennsylvania received approximately $43.2 million to assist families who have lost or are at risk of losing water service in their homes.
Pennsylvanians can apply for LIHEAP, LIHWAP, and other public assistance programs online at www.compass.state.pa.us and can apply for Medical Assistance (MA) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by phone at 1-866-550-4355. On-site County Assistance Office (CAO) services are available if clients cannot access online services or need assistance that cannot be accessed through the COMPASS website, the myCOMPASS PA mobile app, or by calling the Customer Service Centers at 215-560-7226 for Philadelphia clients or 1-877-395-8930 for clients in all other counties.
More information on LIHEAP can be found here, and more information on LIHWAP can be found here. For helpful tips on keeping warm throughout the winter while saving money on utility costs, visit www.energy.gov/energysaver/energy-saver.
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