Harrisburg, PA – Acting Secretary of the Department of Human Services (DHS), Meg Snead, joined Gladys Brown Dutrieuille, Chair of the Public Utility Commission (PUC), today with the start of the annual application process for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for announced the 2021-22 season.
LIHEAP is a government funded program administered by DHS that provides heating billing assistance so that low-income Pennsylvanians can stay warm and safe during the winter months. There is support for tenants and homeowners. The LIHEAP application period has been extended for this season and runs from October 18, 2021 to May 6, 2022.
âNobody should ever have to worry about their heating being turned off during the coldest, darkest months of the year. As winter approaches and we prepare to spend even more time indoors, those bills will only get more expensive, âsaid Acting Secretary Snead. âLIHEAP helps some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens – children, elderly Pennsylvanians, people with disabilities, and low-income families – make ends meet and keep their homes safe through the winter. I encourage anyone in need of help, or anyone who has loved ones or neighbors who might benefit from this program, to apply for LIHEAP today. “
“By working together with LIHEAP and various PUC-required utility programs, hundreds of thousands of households in Pennsylvania are helping keep connected, safe and warm,” said PUC Chair Gladys Brown Dutrieuille. “We strongly encourage families to apply for LIHEAP and #CallUtilitiesNow to explore all of the options available.”
Due to the availability of funds through the American Federal Rescue Plan Act, the DHS can provide increased LIHEAP benefits for this season. This means families will experience an increase in the LIHEAP minimum cash grant from $ 200 to a minimum grant of $ 500 and an increase in the maximum cash grant from $ 1,000 to a maximum of $ 1,500. Those in need of the LIHEAP Crisis Grant – the benefit for people who reach the poverty line and are at risk of ending their heating service – will increase the maximum crisis grant from $ 600 to a maximum of $ 1,200. LIHEAP is distributed directly to a household’s utility or heating oil provider in the form of a grant so that the individual or households do not have to repay any subsidies.
The income limit for the program is 150 percent of the federal poverty line. For a household of four, that would be a gross income of $ 39,750 per year. Pennsylvanians do not need to know their own eligibility to apply for these programs. Those who applied and were previously rejected but experienced a change in circumstances can reapply.
During the 2020-21 LIHEAP season, 303,123 households nationwide received $ 84,919,469 million in LIHEAP cash benefits, and those households received an average seasonal benefit of $ 280. 116,639 households across the state received $ 50,763,178 million in LIHEAP crisis benefits, and those households received an average payment of $ 435.
The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is also available in each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties to help eligible tenants meet the cost of overdue or pending utility and rental payments. Pennsylvanians responsible for paying rent or utility bills for a home and having one or more household members who might have gotten into financial trouble during the COVID-19 pandemic that put them at risk of homelessness or business interruption You are entitled to ERAP support for up to 18 months. More information is available at www.dhs.pa.gov/erap.
Pennsylvanians can apply for LIHEAP, ERAP, and other public assistance programs online at www.compass.state.pa.us or by calling 1-866-550-4355. The on-site County Assistance Office (CAO) services are available if customers do not have access to online services or need assistance that cannot be accessed through the COMPASS website, myCOMPASS PA mobile app, or by calling customer service centers at 215- 560-7226 can be accessed for Philadelphia customers or 1-877-395-8930 for customers in all other districts.
You can find helpful tips on how to stay warm all winter while saving electricity costs at www.energysavers.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ali Fogarty – [email protected]
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