People who need help with paying their home energy bills may be able to get help from a nonprofit program, but they have a limited time to apply. Western Illinois Regional Council (WIRC) is one of many community action agencies around the United States that offers the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to income eligible households. WIRC officials say the deadline to apply is 4:00 p.m. on May 31, 2023, or until funding is exhausted.
WIRC manages the energy assistance program in four Illinois counties: Hancock; Henderson; McDonough; and Warren. The program can help eligible households with energy bill payments and/or reconnection of service after a disconnection.
Households can apply for LIHEAP once per program season, which typically runs from October 1 to May 31 of each year. If a household receives a disconnection notice after they have applied, they may be eligible for additional help with reconnection assistance. Both homeowners and renters are eligible to apply as long as their income is within the program’s guidelines.
LIHEAP is a social service grant program, which means that households who are awarded funds do not have to pay it back. The award is given directly to the household’s utility company to be applied to the energy bill. The amount that each household is awarded varies depending on their specific situation.
WIRC officials say they have already processed more than 2,000 applications, and want to help as many households as possible before funding runs out.
“We have already processed a record-breaking number of LIHEAP applications this year,” said Jamie Roth, WIRC’s Public Relations Manager. “Utility companies are now sending out disconnection notices for past-due winter bills. If you need help, contact WIRC to schedule an appointment with us before our schedule fills up.”
To be considered for LIHEAP, a household’s total gross income must be at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. WIRC officials say the guidelines adapt slightly each program season, and they are currently set at these limits within a 30-day period: $2,265 for a one-person household; $3,052 for a two-person household; $3,838 for a three-person household; $4,625 for a four-person household; and $5,412 for a five-person household. To ask about larger household income limits, visit wirpc.org/liheap/ or call WIRC at 309-837-2997.
LIHEAP is made possible thanks to state and federal funding from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
To apply for LIHEAP or learn more information, call WIRC at 309-837-2997, visit their website at wirpc.org/liheap/, or message their Facebook page. WIRC offers both in-person and phone appointments.
WIRC is a nonprofit that helps people and communities in multiple western Illinois counties. Their main office is located at 133 West Jackson Street in Macomb, Illinois. For more information, find them on social media, visit their website at wirpc.org, or call 309-837-2997. The Agency is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
***Courtesy of the Western Illinois Regional Council (WIRC)***