The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) helps low-income families with home heating and cooling costs. The Department of Economic Opportunity roles include:
- Applying for funding from the Federal Government
- Distributing funding in the form of grants to non-profit agencies and local governments (local agency providers)
- Monitoring local agency providers to ensure that they administer the funding in compliance with state and federal laws and rules
- Providing technical assistance to local agency providers to help them comply with state and federal requirements
The Department of Economic Opportunity can not:
- Provide funds or direct assistance to citizens
- Provide applications
- Help citizens apply for assistance
- Help citizens get an appointment
- Determine eligibility
Instead, these services are provided by the local agency providers. Please keep reading for more information.
At-A-Glance - Florida's Low-Income Energy Assistant Program
Program benefits vary greatly from state to state. Qualifying in another state does not automatically mean you will be able to receive the same level of help in Florida. The following is a summary of Florida's program:
- Depending on the funds available in your county, you may able to apply for help up to three times a year - but not every month.
- The program may help you pay your natural gas or propane bill only in the winter if you use gas or propane as your primary source to heat your home. If gas or propane is used only for purposes other than heating, such as hot water or cooking, the program can not pay for it.
- The program can not pay for water, sewer and telephone services.
- The local agency provider makes the payments directly to your utility company on your behalf.
Household Income Limits
You may qualify for help if your total household income does not exceed the household income limits listed below. The local agency will help you determine what is included as income.
2012 - 2013 Household Income Guidelines Effective April 1, 2012
|Number of People in Household ||Maximum Annual Household Income |
|1 ||$16,755 |
|2 ||$22,695 |
|3 ||$28,635 |
|4 ||$34,575 |
|5 ||$40,515 |
|6 ||$46,455 |
|7 ||$52,395 |
|8 ||$58,335 |
|For each additional person over 8 people, add this amount ||$5,940 |
How to Get an Application and How to Apply for Assistance
- Visit the Contact Your Local LIHEAP Provider For Help web page.
- You must apply at the appropriate agency within the county in which you live. Look under your county for the name and phone number of that agency.
- Call that agency. These agencies employ caseworkers who are knowledgeable about various programs and who specialize in providing counseling and assistance to citizens. Please be aware that the phone number may be busy:
- All local agencies are receiving very high volumes of calls for assistance and are working through the calls as quickly as possible.
- Please be patient. Keep trying to contact the local agency.
- Please be aware that many local agencies take calls only during specific hours.
- Many local agencies have websites you may be able to find through an internet search. You may be able to contact them through an online form on their web site or by email.
- To manage the high number of requests for help, most local agencies require that you make an appointment with them. An agency staff person will help you complete the application.
- The local agency receives applications, determines if you are eligible, and makes payments directly to energy companies on your behalf.
How to Appeal If You Have Been Denied Assistance
Contact the local agency provider to find out how to appeal. The Department of Economic Opportunity does not have access to your records and is unable to provide any further information about your application or status.
Complaint About a Local Agency Provider or a Local Agency Provider Employee
If you have applied and qualified for assistance but the local provider agency has not paid your bill, you need to contact the local agency to find out why. All complaints must be directed to the supervisor or Executive Director of the local agency provider.
The Department of Economic Opportunity does not have authority to respond to any complaints about a local agency provider or to intervene on your behalf. Employees of local agency providers are not employees of the Department of Economic Opportunity. The Department does not have the authority to reprimand or discipline an employee of a local agency.
Urgent / Life Threatening Emergency Situation (for example, power is disconnected or is about to be disconnected and the resident has a disability or is a senior citizen)
Related Links - Other Programs and Agencies Offering Services
Local Agency Providers Needing Technical Assistance
If you are a local agency provider and need technical assistance, you may contact Florida's Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program office at (850) 717-8450.