Fact Sheet: Income Eligibility for LIHEAP Assistance
February 19, 2000
Today, HHS Secretary Donna Shalala encouraged the governors of eighteen states most seriously affected by increased home heating costs to take additional action in distributing federal assistance available under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The letter encouraged these governors to use options available to them to expand the number of families in their states who can receive LIHEAP assistance and to use other funding sources that can provide additional assistance during this period.
The LIHEAP program helps pay for home heating oil bills for lower income families and can be released on an emergency basis by the President when circumstances warrant -- including severe weather or unusually high energy prices. Last week President Clinton released to states an additional $120 million in LIHEAP funds for a total of $295 million released this winter.
LIHEAP is a federally funded program and LIHEAP funds are distributed by states. States have wide latitude in choosing the maximum income threshold for eligible families, using guidelines that are set by federal law. Many states have not chosen the highest income threshold available to them. In order to provide increased LIHEAP assistance, the administration is urging governors to consider using the maximum income threshold available as they confront this situation with all federal, state, and local resources available to them.
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