By Rep. Curt Sonney (R-Erie)
When the cold weather arrives, staying warm for most people is as simple as turning up the thermostat. But that’s not the case for some older individuals in our area on fixed incomes or for families who may be experiencing financial difficulties.
That’s why the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) was created in 1981. Funded by the federal government but administered at the state level, the program provides grants to eligible participants who need assistance with paying their heating bills.
LIHEAP helps low-income people pay their heating bills through home energy assistance grants and crisis grants. Cash grants are awarded based on household income, family size, type of heating fuel and region. Cash grants range from $200 to $1,000 and are sent directly to the utility company/fuel provider.
Crisis grants are provided in the event of a heating emergency, including broken heating equipment or leaking lines that must be fixed or replaced, lack of fuel, termination of utility service, or danger of being without fuel or of having utility service terminated. In most counties, assistance with home heating crisis situations is available 24 hours a day.
Grants do not need to be repaid.
The income eligibility guidelines for LIHEAP are set at 150 percent of the federal poverty income level. For example, the income limit for an individual is $18,210; for a couple, the limit is $24,690; and for a family of four, it is $37,650.
Residents may apply for LIHEAP online at www.compass.state.pa.us or by contacting the Erie County Assistance Office at 1316 Holland St. in Erie, telephone (814) 461-2002. When applying, you will need: names of people in the household, dates of birth for all household members, Social Security numbers for all household members, proof of income for all household members, and a recent heating bill.
For more information, call the LIHEAP hotline at 1-866-857-7095.
Representative Curt Sonney
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tricia Lehman