mother and child are warming themselves near the radiator by the window of the house
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White House Designates $3.7 Billion To Help Families Pay Their Heating Bills This Winter

You can quickly find out if your family is eligible for this financial assistance by using a new online tool.

by Kaitlin Kimont

Winter is around the corner and homes across are the country are starting to crank up their thermostats. To ensure low-income families can keep their homes heated as temperatures drop, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), has designated $3.7 billion of funding toward the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

On Tuesday, the Biden-Harris Administration announced the release of nearly $3.7 billion of funding to support LIHEAP, a federally-funded program, created in 1981, that helps families pay for their heating bills and other home energy costs. In 2022, the program assisted “over 6 million household with heating, cooling, and weatherization services,” according to the HHS.

“LIHEAP is critical to lowering energy costs for families, and protecting the health and safety of households, particularly those that include older adults, individuals with disabilities, and young children,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “With additional support from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, this essential program will help households keep the heat on in the winter and stay cool in the summer while still being able to afford other essentials necessary for good health like food, medicine, and housing.”

The ACF launched a new tool to help families identify if they for qualify for LIHEAP assistance. The LIHEAP eligibility tool is available online and will ask for basic information like your income, location, household size, and whether you receive other government benefits like SNAP. From there, you’ll need to contact your local LIHEAP office. You can also call the National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) hotline at 1-866-674-6327 for more information or help applying for the program.

“We know that for families and individuals with low incomes, many of whom work overtime or work multiple jobs to make ends meet, it can often be difficult and time consuming to figure out if they meet the eligibility requirements for a specific program,” OCS Director Dr. Lanikque Howard said in a statement. “The LIHEAP eligibility tool alleviates some of this burden by allowing households to more quickly identify if they might be eligible in their service area.”

With this new funding, part of President Joe Biden’s Investing in America agenda, the Biden-Harris Administration has invested a total of $22 billion in LIHEAP.

Part of LIHEAP’s mission to help “reduce the risk of health and safety problems that arise from unsafe heating and cooling situations and practices.” The National Fire Protection Association reports that heating equipment is a leading cause of fires in U.S. homes, with space heaters accounting for the majority of fires.