Christie Administration Announces that Help Is Available for

Winter Heating Bills

LIHEAP Program Now Accepting Applications from Low-Income Families and Seniors

TRENTON, NJ – The Christie Administration today announced the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is now accepting applications for the upcoming heating season. The federal program provides low-income households with money to help pay their winter heating bills and makes provisions for emergency heating system services and emergency fuel assistance.

"During these tough economic times, many New Jersey households are still struggling to pay their bills. They shouldn't have to make a choice over whether to pay their heating bill or some other necessity, now that winter has arrived," said Governor Christie. "If heating is a concern this winter, families should take advantage of this invaluable program and submit their applications as soon as possible."

LIHEAP funding is administered in New Jersey through the Department of Community Affair's Division of Housing and Community Resources. To be eligible for LIHEAP benefits, a household must be responsible for home heating, either directly or included in the rent, and have a gross income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level.

"If you can't afford to pay your home energy bill, your home may not be safe, and you may be at risk of serious illness or injury," said New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Lori Grifa.  "The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) may be able to help keep you and your family safe and healthy, which is why we are encouraging those in need to apply early."

To apply for LIHEAP, households should contact the authorized local community action agency or community-based organization in their area. A list of these agencies is found at on the DCA website. The application period runs from November 1, 2011, through April 30, 2012. For persons age 60 or older, or who are disabled, applications may be received and returned by mail. Other households may apply by mail at the discretion of the local agency. Assistance toward heating costs depends on income, household size, fuel type, and heating region.

The LIHEAP application can also be used to apply for the Universal Service Fund Program (USF), which is a state-funded initiative administered by the DCA's Division of Housing and Community Resources to help make natural gas and electric heating bills more affordable for low-income households. To be eligible, a household gross income must be at or below 175% of the federal poverty level, and pay more than 3% of its annual income for electric or natural gas. If a household has electric heat, it must spend more than 6% of its annual income on electricity to be eligible.

The chart below gives monthly gross income maximums for the 2012 federal fiscal year.

Maximum Monthly Gross Income Eligibility Levels FFY 2012

Household Size

USF Program

LIHEAP Program





































> 12, add:

$557 per person

$153 per person

For more information on LIHEAP or to locate the nearest application agency, please call 1-800-510-3102. Additional information about LIHEAP and USF, including an application, is also available at