The federally-funded Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps pay energy bills for heating or cooling your home, and offers additional help in crises like pending utility service disconnection.
LIHEAP makes payments directly to your energy provider on your behalf. The amount of help you can receive depends on where you live, your income, your energy costs, and your family size. You can get benefits from both the Crisis Assistance and Heating/Cooling programs if you qualify.
What does Florida LIHEAP pay for?
The LIHEAP program only pays for energy bills, primarily electric. The Florida program covers gas and propane bills too, but only if they are the primary source for heating your home in winter. The program also covers required electricity service deposits, but doesn’t pay for water or sewer bills.
The Heating/Cooling Program
Applications are accepted either for the summer cooling season (April 1–September 30) or the winter heating season (October 1–March 31). Eligible households can receive one benefit, which varies from $200–$600, in a 12-month period. Apply at the beginning of the season (specific deadlines are determined by your local LIHEAP program agency).
When funds are limited, priority consideration is given to households with children, one person over the age of 60, or with a disabled member.
The Crisis Assistance Program
Only bills that are past due can be covered by the Crisis Assistance program. Applications are accepted year-round. The maximum you can receive is $750 per heating or cooling season, for a total of $1500 in a 12-month period.
Who’s eligible for Florida LIHEAP?
To qualify for Florida LIHEAP, you must:
- Have a total household gross income of no more than 150% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines (the exact amount changes every year to account for inflation);
- Be responsible for paying your home heating or cooling bills;
- Be a resident of Florida; and
- Be a U.S. Citizen, qualified alien or permanent resident of the U.S.
When you apply for LIHEAP, you’ll be asked to provide some documentation of your current monthly income (not yearly income). There is no asset test for LIHEAP in Florida, so bank accounts, homes, retirement accounts, and vehicles aren’t counted in determining your eligibility.
Where do you apply for LIHEAP?
LIHEAP, established in 1981, is paid for by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) receives a yearly grant from HHS and then distributes funds to local agency providers, which are either nonprofit agencies or local governments.
Find application due dates and apply online at the local LIHEAP program agency in your area.
Note: In 2020, some Florida counties used their LIHEAP money to fund part of a CARES grant for utilities and therefore may not fund you again if you already received one. But you should definitely apply for both programs unless you’ve been told you can’t.