All About LIHEAP (Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program)
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and is operated by community action agencies. LIHEAP offers payment assistance to qualifying individuals and families, which alleviates some of the burden created by the costs of heating in winter months and cooling in summer months. These costs could vary between gas and electric expenses.
"LIHEAP could aid hundreds of Arkansas Valley Electric members in need every year. The main goal of this assistance program is to project people out of poverty by helping them to become more enriched in their lives and more self-sufficient," shares Cindy Bowman, AVECC Billing Specialist.
The federally allocated funds are replenished twice a year: once in the summer and once in the winter. LIHEAP offers assistance to qualifying individuals until the funds for that term are exhausted.
"A member may receive LIHEAP assistance two times a year. It is winter assistance and summer assistance, and they could qualify for both regular LIHEAP and Crisis LIHEAP. If the member has a shut-off notice and their power is imminent to be disconnected, that would fall under a crisis," explains Cindy.
The amount of financial help available varies based on income, the number of people in a household, and other factors. LIHEAP eligibility in Arkansas is based on 60% of State Median Income and 150% of Federal Poverty Guidelines.
Any AVECC member on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) automatically qualifies for LIHEAP. If a member receives SNAP benefits, they will receive their application for LIHEAP in the mail. However, many people who do not receive SNAP benefits still qualify, and businesses are excluded from receiving the benefit.
A person should check their eligibility and acquire an application by contacting their local action agency. Find the appropriate number by clicking here. "AVECC's Member Service Representatives are trained and know these things. Members may call AVECC if questioning their ability to qualify income-wise or by people living in the household," says Brandon Fisher.
For more information about LIHEAP or if you have questions about local aid, please visit https://www.avecc.com/ways-to-pay/payment-assistance.