By: Follow South Jersey Staff
SOUTH JERSEY — The application period for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is now open for residents across the state for the 2022-2023 heating season, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs has announced.
The program assists low- and moderate-income households with their heating bills and provides emergency heating system services and emergency fuel assistance. As a result of increases in federal income limits, families with higher incomes are now able to apply and urged to do so.
“Heating and energy costs are expected to increase this fall and winter for people across the nation, including New Jersey. This is why it is now more important than ever to apply for help to pay upcoming heating bills and to address past-due utility bills,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “LIHEAP is not just for people with lower incomes. Moderate-income families are also eligible for assistance. Reach out if you need assistance. DCA is here to help.”
LIHEAP is a federal program that helps households at or below 60 percent of the state median income (for example, $6,662 a month for a family of four) pay for home energy costs such as heating and cooling. The program is focused on helping households pay their current and past-due energy and heating bills. Program funding is administered through DCA’s Division of Housing and Community Resources.
Assistance is available for past-due energy, water, and/or sewer bills and encouraged to apply for assistance to cover these arrears. Eligible households can visit the DCAid portal at www.nj.gov/dca/dcaid to submit an application for assistance. The DCAid portal also checks to see what other benefits the applicant may qualify for. People who do not have access to computers or the internet can call 1-800-510-3102 to be directed to one of the community action agencies partnering with DCA to assist them with starting, completing, and submitting an application online. A list of the community organizations providing such assistance is available at:
https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dhcr/offices/agencydirectorylist.html on the DCA website.
To be eligible for LIHEAP assistance, households must be responsible for home energy and heating costs, either directly or included in the rent. Persons who live in public housing and/or receive rental assistance are not eligible unless they are responsible for their own energy and heating costs paid directly to the fuel supplier. The amount of the LIHEAP benefit is determined by income, household size, fuel type, and heating region.
Households that qualify for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly food stamps – are automatically screened to determine eligibility for LIHEAP. SNAP applicants are encouraged to bring electric, gas, oil, and other energy utility bills that could qualify them to receive LIHEAP assistance to help pay heating costs. SNAP recipients who qualify for LIHEAP may be eligible for an increase in SNAP benefits.
The State of New Jersey has multiple programs to assist with past-due utility bills. LIHEAP is one of several programs DCA administers to help New Jersey households meet basic needs to promote long-term physical well-being. The programs also include the Low Income Household Water Assistance (LIHWAP) program, which provides benefits directly to water and wastewater companies, on behalf of residential customers. DCA also administers the Universal Service Fund (USF) program, which provides a monthly credit on electric and gas bills for households at or below 400 percent of the federal poverty level (for example, $9,250 a month for a family of four). All of the mentioned programs are actively accepting applications and people can apply through DCA’s one-stop online application portal at DCAid.
Participants in the LIHEAP program are automatically eligible for LIHWAP assistance as long as they are water/wastewater bill holders.
The LIHEAP application period began October 1, 2022 and will end June 30, 2023. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and assistance is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis so applicants should not wait to apply.
The chart below provides maximum monthly gross income eligibility levels for both LIHEAP and USF.
MAXIMUM MONTHLY GROSS INCOME ELIGIBILITY LEVELS
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|Household Size LIHEAP Program USF Program 1 $3,464 $4,530 2 $4,530 $6,103 3 $5,596 $7,677 4 $6,662 $9,250 5 $7,728 $10,823 6 $8,794 $12,397 7 $8,994 $13,970 8 $9,193 $15,543 9 $9,393 $17,117 10 $9,593 $18,690 11 $9,793 $20,263 12 $9,993 $21,837 If more than 12 For LIHEAP, add $200 a month For USF, add $1,574|