`Application Period Is Open for Households to Apply for Funding to Help Offset Cost of Winter Heating Bills
TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) today announced that applications are still being accepted for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for residents across the state. The federally funded program assists low-income households with their heating bills and provides emergency heating system services and emergency fuel assistance. Program funding is administered through DCA’s Division of Housing and Community Resources.
“The health of families depends, in part, on a warm, safe home, but we recognize that it can be difficult for many residents to afford energy costs through the winter months. Help is still available,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, who also serves as DCA Commissioner. “DCA is encouraging people who need financial assistance with heating their home to apply for LIHEAP benefits immediately.”
The LIHEAP application period will remain open through the winter months.
To be eligible for LIHEAP assistance, households must be responsible for home heating costs, either directly or included in the rent, and have a gross income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Persons who live in public housing and/or receive rental assistance are not eligible unless they are responsible for their own heating costs paid directly to the fuel supplier. The amount of the LIHEAP heating benefit is determined by income, household size, fuel type, and heating region.
To find out if you are eligible for this program, visit our new eligibility screening tool, DCAid, at: www.nj.gov/dca/dcaid
Households that qualify for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly food stamps – are automatically screened to determine eligibility for LIHEAP. SNAP applicants are encouraged to bring electric, gas, oil and other energy utility bills that could qualify them to receive LIHEAP assistance to help pay heating costs. SNAP recipients who qualify for LIHEAP may be eligible for an increase in SNAP benefits.
The average LIHEAP benefit for a household last heating season was approximately $300.
The LIHEAP application also serves as an application for the Universal Service Fund (USF) Program, which is state funded and administered by DCA’s Division of Housing and Community Resources. USF helps low-income households pay for their electric and natural gas costs.
To be eligible for USF, a household must have a gross income at or below 175 percent of the federal poverty level and pay more than 3 percent of its annual income for electric or more than 3 percent of its annual income for natural gas. If a household has electric heat, it must spend more than 6 percent of its annual income on electricity to be eligible.
The chart below provides maximum monthly gross income eligibility levels for both LIHEAP and USF.
MAXIMUM MONTHLY GROSS INCOME ELIGIBILITY LEVELS
|Household Size||LIHEAP Program||USF Program|
|If more than 12, add:||$170 for each person||$630 for each person|
Dial 2-1-1 any day, any time to speak with a call specialist who can provide the locations and hours of local LIHEAP application agencies, explain how home energy assistance programs work, check on the status of a LIHEAP application once it has been filed, and help find alternative resources if a person doesn't qualify for LIHEAP and/or USF benefits.
For a list of agencies that accept LIHEAP applications and more information, people can also visit the DCA website at https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dhcr/offices/energy.html or call toll free: 1-800-510-3102.
DCA was established in 1967 and today offers a wide range of programs and services, including energy assistance, housing vouchers, affordable housing production, fire and building safety, community planning and development, local government management and finance, and disaster recovery.
For more information about DCA, visit https://nj.gov/dca/