This is part of the story.CNET’s collection of practical tips for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.
As one moves towards the Northern Hemisphere., people are firing up their heaters. But electricity prices have risen about 15% since last year, and natural gas prices have risen about 25% over the same period, so the cost of heating your home is much higher.
This increase is particularly difficult for low-income people. About 40% of low-income households spend more than 10% of their income on their energy needs. Although you can.I you may not be able to save enough energy to offset the increased cost.
If you find yourself struggling to pay your heating bills this winter, you may qualify for energy assistance. The federal government distributes relief funds — this winter’s amount is $4.5 billion — that goes to households that need a little help. States, territories and tribes each get a share to distribute. We’ll explain how you can apply, what you can use the money for and contact some other possible sources of help.
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Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program: How to Apply
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, known as LIHEAP, is a program administered by the US Department of Health and Human Services. In 2021, about $4 billion from LIHEAP is distributed to states and low-income residents. An estimated 4.9 million households received LIHEAP payments this year.
States set income limits for each of their programs, but cannot set them above 160% or below 110% of the federal poverty level. The poverty level in 2022 is $13,590 per person per year. $18,310 for two people; $23,030 and up for three people.
To access LIHEAP funds, you must apply through your state. You can find state and territory contacts and tribal contacts on the LIHEAP website.
Some state websites include links to third parties (often charities or non-profit organizations) that can help you navigate the application process to receive funding.
States can also offer assistance to low-income households for weatherization projects through LIHEAP. Weatherization means plugging leaks and insulating your home against the hot and cold outside temperatures. Weatherstripping, insulation and new windows and doors may be part of your state’s LIHEAP program. Additional benefits outside of LIHEAP, in the form of exemptions and tax credits, are forthcoming or already exist;. Weatherization projects can provide year-over-year energy bill relief in both summer and winter.
How to find utility company and other benefits
As utilities need to change their energy production, some have begun offering discounted or free smart energy devices and energy efficiency measures that can save you money in the long run. Before you buy a new one.or Check in with your utility to see if they offer discounts.
A utility in New Jersey offers free home tours based on income that include basic upgrades, such as light bulb and water heater pipe insulation, and additional later upgrades that include better insulation, air duct sealing and May include tune-ups for heaters and air conditioners. Depending on your income, you can get these upgrades absolutely free.
This type of assistance is different from LIHEAP benefits, which provide financial assistance for your actual bills. Energy efficiency upgrades such as aAnd insulation will help keep your utility bills down even further in the future.
Utilities can also offer payment plans for people who are struggling to pay their bills. Plans will vary in details and availability, so be sure to check in with your utility.
There are also charities and non-profit organizations that offer help. These programs will vary by location, but some national organizations such as the Salvation Army provide assistance. While it’s hard to predict exactly what’s available from one state or city to another, be on the lookout for similar programs in your area.
There are plenty of ways to keep your energy bills a little lower. From relatively inexpensive but surprisingly effective fixes, e.gor like the more expensive ones .