Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – Department of Social Services (DHS) Acting Secretary Meg Snead today joined Public Services Commission (PUC) Chairperson Gladys Brown Dutrieuille in announcing the start of the annual application process the Home Energy Assistance Program for Low-Income People (LIHEAP) for the 2021-22 season.
LIHEAP is a federally funded, DHS administered program that provides assistance with home heating bills so low-income Pennsylvanians can stay warm and safe during the winter months. Help is available for tenants and landlords. The LIHEAP application period has been extended for this season and is open from October 18, 2021 to May 6, 2022.
“No one should ever have to worry about their heating going out during the colder, darker months of the year. As winter approaches and we prepare to spend even more time indoors, these bills will only get more expensive, ”Acting Secretary Snead said. “LIHEAP is helping some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens – children, older Pennsylvanians, people with disabilities and low-income families – to make ends meet and keep their homes safe through the winter. I encourage anyone who might need help, or anyone with relatives or neighbors who might benefit from this program, to apply for LIHEAP today.
“By working together, LIHEAP and various utility assistance programs required by PUC are helping hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania homes stay connected, safe and warm,” said PUC President 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 US Federal Rescue Plan Act, DHS is able to provide increased LIHEAP benefits for this season. This means that families will see an increase in the minimum LIHEAP 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 poverty lines and risk having their heating service terminated – will see the maximum crisis grant increased from $ 600 to a maximum of $ 1,200 . LIHEAP is distributed directly to a household’s utility company or home heating fuel supplier in the form of a grant, so that the person or households do not have to repay the aid.
The income limit for the program is 150 percent of the federal poverty line. For a household of four, this would represent 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 refused but experienced a change in circumstances can reapply.
During the 2020-21 LIHEAP season, 303,123 households statewide received $ 84,919,469 million in LIHEAP cash benefits, and these households received an average seasonal benefit of $ 280. 116,639 households statewide received $ 50,763,178 million in LIHEAP crisis benefits, and these 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 cover the cost of late or upcoming utility and rent payments. Pennsylvanians who are responsible for paying rent or utilities on a residential property and who have one or more people in the household who experienced financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic that put them at risk of homelessness or shutting down utilities, could be eligible for up to 18 months of ERAP assistance. More information is available at www.dhs.pa.gov/erap.
Pennsylvanians can apply for LIHEAP, ERAP, and other public aid programs online at www.compass.state.pa.us or by phone at 1-866-550-4355. On-site County Assistance Office (CAO) services are available if customers cannot access online services or need assistance that is not accessible through the COMPASS website, mobile app myCOMPASS PA or by calling customer service centers at 215-560-7226 for Philadelphia customers or 1-877-395-8930 for customers in all other counties.
For helpful tips on staying warm all winter while saving money on utility costs, visit www.energysavers.gov.
CONTACT WITH THE MEDIA: Ali Fogarty – [email protected]
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