Home Energy Assistance Program

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Gas heating costs are expected to be very high this winter. There is some help available for low-income Kentuckians. Kentucky's Energy Assistance Program gives financial help to low-income households to keep utility services on during the winter heating season. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps Kentuckians at or below 130 percent of the poverty guideline with heating assistance. The LIHEAP home heating program has two main components: Subsidy and crisis funding. A third component to help with summer cooling costs is offered when funds are available.

The subsidy component operates in November and December to help residents at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level (as of 2009, for a one person household, gross monthly income can not exceed $1,173) pay home heating costs for which they are responsible. In addition to income guidelines, eligible applicants may not have liquid resources in excess of $1,500 except when a household member has a catastrophic illness, in which case applicants may have as much as $4,000 in liquid assets if those assets are used for medical and living expenses. Applicants may receive a one-time subsidy benefit.

The crisis component of LIHEAP operates from early January until the middle of March, or until all funds are expended. Clients must meet the criteria listed above and be in a crisis situation involving imminent loss of heating energy (applicants must provide a utility disconnect notice); have four or fewer days worth of fuel oil, propane, kerosene, wood or coal available; or, have received an eviction notice citing unpaid rent (applies to applicants whose heating costs are included as an undesignated portion of the rent.

The summer cooling program provides eligible households with a one-time payment (usually $50) to the household's cooling (electric) provider. To be eligible for summer cooling a household must meet the eligibility requirements as described above.

Benefits are provided on a first come, first serve basis.

To apply for the Energy Assistance Program you need to contact your local Community Action office.

When applying for LIHEAP assistance, you may need the following documents:

  1. Recent copies of your utility bills.
  2. A recent payroll stub or other proof of current gross income.
  3. Documentation showing income from Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, pension funds, disability, etc.
  4. Final utility termination notice (if you've received a shut-off notice from your energy company).
  5. Proof of current address (e.g., rent receipt, lease or deed, property tax bill).
  6. Proof of total members living in your household (e.g., birth certificates, school records, etc.).
  7. Social Security cards (or numbers) for all persons living in your household.
  8. Proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residence.

View a brochure [PDF] providing an overview of the LIHEAP program.

If all else fails, you may also be able to get assistance from your local Salvation Army office or local churches if you still need help keeping your utilities on this winter.

Reviewed August 2009