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1 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2015 National Council on Aging The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) 101 March 2015 Benefits 101
2 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2015 National Council on Aging What We’ll Cover What Is the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)? Who does LIHEAP help? Overview of LIHEAP How LIHEAP Works Eligibility Rules Benefits of LIHEAP How to Apply How You Can Help Your Clients Resources
3 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2015 National Council on Aging What is the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)? LIHEAP is a federally-funded program that helps low-income households afford their home heating and cooling bills LIHEAP may also help your clients with: Some emergency situations, including utility shutoffs and fuel- supply shortages Weatherization improvements Replacement or repair of utility equipment (such as a furnace or air conditioner)
4 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2015 National Council on Aging Who Does LIHEAP Help? Low-income households can easily spend 30% of their monthly income on energy bills during the hottest and coldest times of the year. In FY 2013, LIHEAP provided assistance to 5.9 million low- income households. LIHEAP serves people of all ages, including families with young children, adults with disabilities, and seniors.
5 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2015 National Council on Aging LIHEAP is a Block Grant Unlike some other federal benefits, LIHEAP is not an entitlement: States receive a specific amount of LIHEAP funds, according to a legal formula. Many people who meet the eligibility criteria for LIHEAP may not be able to receive assistance because the funds have run out. Nationally, LIHEAP funds are only able to serve less than 25% of low-income households.
6 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2015 National Council on Aging How LIHEAP Works: Federal, State, Local LIHEAP is a block grant program: The federal government gives funds to states and other grantees (such as territories and Native American tribes) according to a formula in federal law Most states have local agencies, such as Community Action Agencies, that determine eligibility and distribute the funds Rules set by states within certain guidelines: The Administration for Children and Families, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, issues LIHEAP guidelines that states must follow States are generally given broad flexibility within these guidelines, so there is great variation among states in application processes and benefit amounts
7 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2015 National Council on Aging LIHEAP Eligibility: Income States can choose a LIHEAP income eligibility level within a range set by federal law: Minimum: 110% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) Maximum: 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) or 60% of the state median income, whichever is greater You can look up your state’s income eligibility limits for 2015 at: http://www.liheapch.acf.hhs.gov/tables/FY2015/POP15.htm http://www.liheapch.acf.hhs.gov/tables/FY2015/POP15.htm
8 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2015 National Council on Aging LIHEAP Eligibility: Other Factors Assets: Most states do not have limits on the amount of assets or resources that someone can own to be eligible for LIHEAP However, some states do have asset limits Most of those states have higher asset limits for households where at least one person is 60 years old or older You can look up whether your state has an asset limit for LIHEAP at http://www.liheapch.acf.hhs.gov/tables/FY2015/assets.htm http://www.liheapch.acf.hhs.gov/tables/FY2015/assets.htm Other eligibility factors: States have the option of setting other eligibility criteria, such as receipt of a utility disconnection notice, or type of housing
9 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2015 National Council on Aging LIHEAP Eligibility: Categorical Eligibility Some states also may deem a household categorically eligible for LIHEAP if the household/its members receive other benefits, such as SNAP or SSI In this case, households don’t need to apply and get the benefit automatically Find a list of states offering categorical eligibility: http://www.liheapch.acf.hhs.gov/tables/FY2015/autoeligtable.htm http://www.liheapch.acf.hhs.gov/tables/FY2015/autoeligtable.htm
10 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2015 National Council on Aging Benefits of LIHEAP: What Does LIHEAP Pay For? LIHEAP assists with the costs of home heating and cooling Generally, LIHEAP is paid directly to the energy supplier, such as electric utilities or fuel vendors LIHEAP is not intended to cover a household’s entire utility costs, so recipients generally still have to pay a portion of their monthly bill
11 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2015 National Council on Aging Benefits of LIHEAP: Benefit Amounts The amount the beneficiaries receive varies widely from state to state Factors that impact how much your client will receive may include: Where your client lives Your client’s household income Your client’s household size Amount of your client’s heating or cooling bill Whether your client has received a utility disconnection notice In some states, your client’s assets
12 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2015 National Council on Aging How to Apply Each state has a different application process. Sometimes the local agencies that administer LIHEAP will have their own rules and procedures You’ll need to find out your state’s application process by visiting your state’s LIHEAP website. Find your state LIHEAP website at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap-state-and-territory- contact-listing http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/liheap-state-and-territory- contact-listing
13 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2015 National Council on Aging How Can You Help Your Clients? Educate clients about the benefit Be aware of open application periods for LIHEAP in your state – mark them on your calendar! Help clients fill out paperwork ahead of time to be able to meet the often short application windows and maximize the opportunity for them to get the benefit
14 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2015 National Council on Aging Resources LIHEAP Clearinghouse: http://www.liheapch.acf.hhs.gov/ http://www.liheapch.acf.hhs.gov/ Comprehensive information on state rules, eligibility, and snapshots of funding in each state Statistics on program funding and uptake Administration for Children and Families LIHEAP page on guidance, policies, and procedures: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/programs/liheap http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/programs/liheap
15 Improving the lives of 10 million older adults by 2020 © 2015 National Council on Aging Thank You! Thank you for participating in the Benefits 101 Series from the Center for Benefits Access at NCOA We invite you to learn more about us by visiting our website: www.ncoa.org/centerforbenefits If you have any questions or comments, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org@ncoa.org
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