Applications are now open for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for qualified residential customers who are over the age of 60, have a disability or have children under the age of 6 to receive financial assistance to pay their energy bills.
LIHEAP is a federally funded bill payment assistance program that helps low- and fixed-income families pay their utility during the winter heating season. These funds are delivered to qualified residential customers in a lump sum from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and do not need to be repaid.
This week, U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth announced $176.7 million in federal funding for LIHEAP to help Illinois residents pay the rising cost of home heating bills this winter.
In March, Durbin and Duckworth announced more than $51.8 million in federal funding from LIHEAP to support Illinoisans. Last year, Illinois received nearly $260 million in LIHEAP funding.
To qualify for LIHEAP, a household’s combined income for the 30 days prior to application must be at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. For renters, heat and/or electric must be included in the rent, and rent must be greater than 30% of total income to be eligible for benefits.
LIHEAP enrollment for customers who are disconnected or are in imminent threat of disconnection will begin Wednesday, Nov. 1. Open enrollment for all residential customers will begin on Friday, Dec. 1.
For eligibility and to apply, visit www.LIHEAPIllinois.com or call 877-411-9276 (WARM).
In addition to LIHEAP, Nicor Gas currently offers additional resources to help customers pay and manage their natural gas bill and save on energy costs:
- Sharing Program – One-time annual grants of up to $500 are given, with no requirement to be paid back, to qualified residential customers who meet the required income guidelines. These funds are administered by The Salvation Army and are funded through direct contributions from Nicor Gas’ customers and employees.
- Energy Aide Program – Provides qualifying households with a grant of up to $350 toward their past due balance and does not need to be paid back. Residential customers must be at or below 350% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
- Payment arrangements – Provides eligible customers with more time to pay past-due balances and brings their account current to avoid possible service disconnections. Customers can check their eligibility for a payment arrangement by visiting nicorgas.com/myaccount.
- Budget Plan – Helps customers with current accounts avoid unpredictable bills from month to month by evening out the seasonal highs and lows of their bills through a monthly budgeted amount. Owed monthly amounts may be adjusted every four months to ensure that payments are in line with actual usage and the price of gas. Customers can check their eligibility for the Budget Plan by visiting nicorgas.com/budgetplan.
- Energy Efficiency Program – Provides free home assessments, energy-saving products and incentives to help customers save money and energy. Eligible income-qualified households may receive additional free services and equipment upgrades. Customers can call 877.866.4239 or visit nicorgas.com/saveathome.