Government Can Help Pay Heating Bill This Winter

As you no doubt know only too well, energy prices are rising with inflation and the coming winter will be tough on your bank account. Energy money saving hacks are great and all, but your family might really need a little extra help. The Biden administration has announced a plan to provide more than $13 billion to help Americans lower their energy costs, and you should definitely take advantage of this if you qualify.

Here’s how to find out if you qualify for the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and what you need to do to get the funds.

What is LIHEAP?

The administration is allocating $4.5 billion to help lower winter energy costs for low-income families this year, according to a newsletter distributed this week . The federal program is administered in each state, so the first thing you need to do to apply is find your local office on this list .

In addition to helping you pay your heating and cooling bills, LIHEAP helps you pay for insulation, which can help you improve your home’s overall energy efficiency.

The program isn’t new — it helped more than 5.3 million households last year, according to the administration — but the administration is receiving additional support as we face a particularly expensive winter season.

What else can you get?

Another $9 billion of that money will go to state and tribal governments for new home efficiency programs under the Inflation Reduction Act. Up to 1.6 million households can receive support to pay for upgrades; the program includes the installation of up to 500,000 heat pumps and other “deep modernization of buildings with insulation and electrical wiring.”

Around 700,000 homes will also be insulated under the expanded Insulation Assistance Program, which falls under the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, according to the government. If this sounds like a strange policy to you, here’s what you need to know: the big states, namely Texas and California, are getting a lot of money, and rebates and other funding should be available in 2023.

According to CBS News , to prepare for launching a rebate program, talk to contractors about your current heating and cooling system and determine if you need an upgrade. The discounts are significant enough that your eventual upgrade, if needed, could be significantly cheaper.

How to apply for energy assistance through LIHEAP

Go to this list of government agencies and find your state. By clicking on it, you will be able to determine the requirements needed in your area to qualify. In New York City, for example, the LIHEAP eligibility income level is 60% of the state median income, or 150% of the federal poverty level for households of more than 11 people. You will also find a link to the application and contact information for local offices to contact with questions.

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