With the cost of everyday items rising, many throughout the commonwealth struggle to pay their utility bills. The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services has decided to step in and offer aid to those who need it.
The Department of Human Services (DHS) has announced supplemental Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) payments to eligible households that received LIHEAP benefits during the 2021-22 season. These supplemental payments will be sent to the eligible household in order to pay any current bills to their vendor or utility provider. Any remaining funds are then applied to any past due amounts or will be kept on the account for future deliveries or utility credits.
“We know that many Pennsylvanians are seeing higher energy costs this summer, especially for those still struggling to pay off winter utility or fuel costs,” said Acting DHS Secretary Meg Snead. “With these supplemental LIHEAP payments, some of the commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens – children, older Pennsylvanians, people with disabilities, and low-income families – will be able to make ends meet and keep their power on.”
DHS will issue supplements to two groups of households that received a LIHEAP Cash or Crisis benefit in the 2021-22 LIHEAP season:
- Houses that receive deliverable fuels, such as propane or kerosene, will receive a cash supplement of $500. This is the traditional summer fill supplement and will be sent to the deliverable fuel vendor that received the most recent LIHEAP benefit in early August.
- Houses that do not receive deliverable fuels and instead receive electricity or natural gas from a utility company will receive a $250 cash supplement. This supplement will be issued to the utility that received the most recent LIHEAP benefit in mid-August.
All households eligible to receive a supplement will be sent a notice informing them that the supplement is being issued, the amount of the supplement and the name of the vendor that is getting the supplement on the household’s behalf. The notice also states that this supplement will not impact eligibility for LIHEAP in the upcoming 2022-2023 LIHEAP season.
LIHEAP is a federally funded program administered by DHS that provides assistance for home utility and deliverable fuel bills so low-income Pennsylvanians can stay safe in their homes. While the LIHEAP application period is closed until Fall 2022, utility companies offer customer assistance programs that could help eligible households with their electric, gas, or water bills.
Additionally, the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) helps Pennsylvanians with low incomes maintain access to drinking and wastewater services. Assistance is available for families who have past due water bills, had their service terminated, or received a notice indicating that their service will be terminated in the next 60 days. Households can receive LIHWAP grants for both drinking water service and wastewater service. Grants are issued directly to water service providers, and families must meet income requirements. LIHWAP is only available until funding runs out, so low-income households with past due water or wastewater bills are encouraged to apply.
Pennsylvanians can apply for LIHEAP (when the season begins), LIHWAP, and other public assistance programs online at www.compass.state.pa.us and can apply for Medical Assistance (MA) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by phone at 1-866-550-4355. On-site County Assistance Office (CAO) services are available if clients cannot access online services or need assistance that cannot be accessed through the COMPASS website, the myCOMPASS PA mobile app, or by calling the Customer Service Centers at 215-560-7226 for Philadelphia clients or 1-877-395-8930 for clients in all other counties.