State reminds Hoosiers of the Energy Assistance Program

With the record cold temperatures currently making its way through the state, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) would like to remind Hoosiers of the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The winter assistance period, which began November 1st, offers qualifying Hoosiers a one-time payment to use towards their heat and electric bills.

“During these extreme temperatures, it is important that low-to-moderate income Hoosiers have a way to ensure the heat stays on in their homes,” said Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, who serves as board chair for IHCDA. “I encourage anyone who is in need of assistance paying their utility bill to call 2-1-1 and ask for the energy assistance program local service provider in their county.”

Applications are being accepted by community-based organizations under contract with IHCDA. These 21 community organizations referred to as “Local Service Providers” (LSPs) cover all 92 Indiana counties. Individuals seeking assistance can apply in person, through the mail-in or at another subcontractor at the location that services their county. Individuals without Internet access are encouraged to call 2-1-1 and ask for the EAP service provider in their county.

Households may qualify if their income does not exceed 150 percent of federal poverty level. For example, the income limit for the 2017-2018 program year is $36,900 for a household of four. LSPs can help clients calculate the countable income towards the limit.

Households who apply for EAP may be protected under Moratorium. The Moratorium law (Indiana Code 8-1-2-121) states that during the period from December 1 through March 15 of any year, a utility company may not turn off residential utility service to any customer who is eligible for and who has applied for EAP. This includes utilities that are electric or gas, including a municipally owned, privately owned, or cooperatively owned utility.

The program also has the ability to help households in an energy crisis, such as disconnect or a household running out of bulk fuel. Individuals facing an energy crisis should contact the community-based organization in their county immediately.

The LIHEAP Block Grant is a non-competitive, federally funded block grant offered through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). LIHEAP provides financial assistance to low-income households to maintain their home utility services.

Since July 1, 2006, the block grant has been administered by IHCDA. During the 2016-17 Winter Assistance period that ended on May 13, a total of 101,300 households were served and received an average benefit of $510.