(Source: Pa.gov)
(Source: Pa.gov)

Thanks to federal coronavirus relief, Pennsylvania's Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, LIHEAP, will be more generous this winter.

LIHEAP's application program opened today, with state officials urging anyone in need to apply. The period is being extended, and will run through May 6 of next year.

As its name implies, LIHEAP underwrites home heating bills for low-income households. Households earning up to 150% of the federal poverty limit may apply: For a family of four, that works out to $39,750.

Pennsylvania's Department of Human Services said the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, allows it to provide increased payouts, as follows:

  • Minimum cash grant: $500, up from $200
  • Maximum cash grant: $1,500, up from $1,000
  • Maximum crisis cash grant (for households at risk of having service terminated): $1,200, up from $600

 

During the winter of 2020-21, Pennsylvania distributed $84.9 million in LIHEAP cash benefits to 303,123 households, for an average benefit of $280. Another 116,639 households received $50.76 million in crisis benefits, averaging $435 per household.

This season, utility assistance is also available to households adversely impacted by Covid-19 through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. For more information on ERAP in Lancaster County, click here.

To apply for LIHEAP, visit www.compass.state.pa.us, call 866-550-4355, or visit a County Assistance Office.

The information for Lancaster County's Assistance Office is as follows:

(Souce: Pa.gov)

Local social-service nonprofits also refer clients to LIHEAP, as does the 211 East service operated by the United Way of Lancaster County.

One United Lancaster