The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
LIHEAP is a federally funded program designed to help low-income families and individuals meet home heating and medically necessary cooling costs. The application period for 2024 opens on October 1, 2023. Assistance is provided on a first-come, first-served basis so applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as they are eligible. If you are eligible to receive assistance for cooling costs you should apply for this benefit at the same time that you apply for help with heating costs.
To be eligible for LIHEAP benefits, the applicant household must be responsible for home heating or cooling costs, with payments made either directly to the utility company or included in the rent; and have a gross income that falls at or below 60% of the NJ State Median Income level. The table below gives specific gross income maximums for FFY 2024.
Those who live in public housing and/or receive rental assistance are not eligible unless they pay for their heating/cooling costs directly to the fuel supplier. The amount of the LIHEAP heating benefit is determined by income, household size, fuel type, and heating region. The medically necessary cooling assistance benefit is set at $200, which is applied as a direct credit to an active electric account or issued as a single party check to the client.
An eligible household that heats with natural gas or electricity may have its benefits directly forwarded to its utility company. Eligible households heating with oil, propane, or kerosene receive a two-party check in the name of the client and the fuel supplier. Households whose heating costs are included in their non-subsidized rent receive a single party check made out to the eligible client. A household receiving medically necessary cooling benefits also receives a single party check.
How to apply for LIHEAP - You can now apply online or work with your local application agency in your area. If you have questions about the program during a time when the agency is not open, dial 211 for information and assistance. We are open twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. Residents age 60 or over, or those who are disabled, are permitted to receive and return applications by mail. Others may only apply by mail if permitted by their local application agency.
If you are a new applicant or if you have moved since last year you will need to bring a copy of the following documentation with you when you go to apply for this program at your local application agency.
- Proof of Identification (Social Security cards for all household members and birth certificates for those under 12 months of age; custody papers for minors not living with parents; documentation for all foster children in the household)
- Proof of income for every household member who is 18 years of age or older
- Proof of U.S. Citizenship or Legal Residency Status (provide one of the following: social security card; copy of Medicaid/Medicare card; documentation from the U.S. Department of Citizenship and Immigration Services; or USCIS Temporary Work Permit)
- copy of your most recent utility bill
- copy of your tax bill, mortgage, or rental lease (if you are in public housing, bring your Housing Authority proof of residence letter or lease agreement)
Find out if you qualify for assistance for LIHEAP, USF, and other DCA programs by completing DCA’s anonymous online screening tool, DCAid.
Download the application.
For more information, call the toll-free LIHEAP hotline at 800-510-3102.