Utility Bill Assistance



Pennsylvania LIHEAP energy bill program.

Pennsylvania offers residents a program that can provide them help with paying energy and heating bills. The federal government funded Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, commonly called LIHEAP, accepts applications each and every fall for the upcoming year.

The LIHEAP program provides families and individuals with cash grants that can assist low-income households with paying for their heating and utility bills. In addition, there is a crisis grant component that can be used to address heating emergencies, and this is available annually in January.

There are many Pennsylvanians who struggle with paying their bills, particularly as a result of the economic downturn. When the program accepts applications, it brings relief to qualified families who need assistance the most. The state of Pennsylvania encourages families to learn about the energy bill program so that they can stay warm and safe throughout the coldest months of the year. The program is very extensive. For example, during the 2008-09 LIHEAP season, almost 550,000 families were helped through cash grants and more than 200,000 families received crisis assistance and grants to address immediate emergencies.

The cash grants are based on family size, income, type of heating fuel used by the homeowner and the region. On the other hand, crisis grants are provided to families to help them resolve heating emergencies or unexpected fuel shortages. There are some criteria to signing up, and in addition to proof of income, citizenship, residency, birth dates and Social Security Numbers for all household members, applicants to the LIHEAP program must provide a recent utility or heating bill or a statement from their fuel dealer verifying their customer status and the type of fuel that they use in their home. When the program opens, applications can be picked up at your local county assistance offices, community service agencies, such as Area Agencies on Aging or community action agencies, and also local utility companies.






By: Jon McNamara


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