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Federal Cuts Mean Less Funds for LIHEAP Assistance Eligible households should apply immediately
For several years I have fought to keep the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) open and available to those families who were most in need of home heating assistance during the brutal winter months. A few years ago, I helped gain state dollars to supplement LIHEAP as a part of Governor Ed Rendell’s “Stay Warm PA” initiative.
Unfortunately, with the current and ongoing economic downturn, the federal government has opted to cut funding to this critical program, putting many low-income families in jeopardy of losing critical assistance with their home heating bills this winter.
The PA Department of Public Welfare – which operates the program in Pennsylvania – has been forced by these cuts, to raise the income threshold to qualify for assistance and lower the benefit amounts provided.
I am urging individuals who believe they qualify for assistance to apply now!
Households that earn less than the following, qualify for assistance:
- One Person: $16,335 down from $17,328 last year
- Two People: $22,065 down from $23,312 last year
- Four People: $33,525 down from $35,280 last year
The minimum cash benefit was also reduced from $300 to $100. The crisis grant was reduced from $400 to $300.
LIHEAP is a federally funded program that's administered by the Department of Public Welfare (DPW) and it helps low-income households pay for home heating fuel with cash grants and emergency furnace repairs through crisis grants.
LIHEAP cash grants are based on income, family size, type of heating fuel, and region. In addition to proof of income and household size, applicants must provide a recent bill or a statement from their fuel dealer verifying their customer status and the type of fuel that they use.
Applications are available at County Assistance Offices, local utility companies and community service agencies, or families can get more information and apply for this valuable program online by going to http://www.dpw.state.pa.us/foradults/heatingassistanceliheap/S_000960.
For more information, constituents are urged to call DPW's toll-free LIHEAP Hotline at 1-866-857-7095, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
You can find out more specifics about LIHEAP and provide your feedback on my website at senatorhughes.com
as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@SenatorHughes).
Offices of State
Senator Vincent Hughes