How To Get Low-Income Home Energy Assistance This Fall

How To Get Low-Income Home Energy Assistance This Fall

Need some help paying for home-heating this winter? If you’re a senior citizen or simply not making a lot of money, you might be eligible for the state’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity’s Office of Community Assistance announced this week that the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program will begin accepting applications for winter heating assistance for seniors and people with disabilities beginning Oct. 1.

LIHEAP is a state and federally funded energy assistance program for low-income families, in which heating bill payments are made on behalf of households. Applications are processed through a network of 35 local administering agencies around the state. These agencies will begin accepting applications on a first-come, first-served basis from the elderly and people with disabilities starting on Oct. 1, 2017.

According to the IDOC’s interactive map, Kane County’s assisting agency is Community Contacts, Inc., 100 South Hawthorne St. in Elgin. Community Contacts’ hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Customers must bring all required documentation when applying for assistance including:

  • Proof of gross income from all household members for the 30-day income period beginning with the date of the application.
  • A copy of their current heat and electric bills issued within the last 30 days (if they pay for their energy directly).
  • A copy of their rental agreement (if they are renting) showing that utilities are included, the monthly rental amount and landlord contact information.
  • Proof of Social Security numbers for all household members.
  • Proof that their household received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); Aid to the Aged, Blind, or Disabled (AABD); or other benefits, such as Medical Eligibility or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), if receiving assistance from the Illinois Department of Human Services.

A single-person household can qualify with a monthly income of up to $1,508; a two-person household up to $2,030; a family of three can earn up to $2,553; and a family of four can earn up to $3,075. Benefits are paid directly to energy vendors on behalf of eligible households.

The exception is households whose heating costs are included in their rent. These households must provide proof that their rent is more than 30 percent of their income in order to qualify for LIHEAP benefits.

Disconnected households and families with children ages 5 or under (includes all children who are not yet 6 years old, that is, up to 5 years and 364 days old) can begin applying for LIHEAP assistance beginning Nov. 1, 2017. Individuals not eligible for priority enrollment can apply beginning Dec. 1, 2017.

LIHEAP applicants will be served on a first-come, first-served basis until May 31, 2018, or until funding is exhausted.

Percentage of Income Payment Plan Program

The Percentage of Income Payment Plan program is a similar bill-payment assistance program and applications will be accepted starting Oct. 1, 2017 for LIHEAP eligible households who are customers of one of the following utilities: Ameren Illinois, ComEd, Nicor Gas, and Peoples Gas/North Shore Gas utilities.

Under PIPP, eligible households pay a percentage of their income towards their utility bill, supplemented by a monthly state benefit. Participating households are eligible for a reduction in outstanding bills for every on-time payment they make. PIPP applicants will be served on a first-come, first-served basis until Dec. 31, 2017, or until funding is exhausted.

For a complete listing of LIHEAP’s local administering agencies and additional information about the program, go to

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