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Home Energy Assistance Hotline

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Since 2011, NJ 211 has served as the Home Energy Assistance (HEA) Hotline. The HEA Program is a federally funded program that was created to help low-income residents with their heating and medically necessary cooling bills. Assistance is available to eligible households through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) which includes the Weatherization Program. It includes benefits to assist with heating bills, weatherization, certain emergency needs and minor energy-related home repairs.  Additional funds may be available for medically necessary cooling assistance and heating repairs. In addition to LIHEAP, we also assist with the Universal Service Fund (USF). This program provides a monthly credit on eligible customer’s natural gas and/or electric bills. USF shares an application with the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. 

How can we help?

We will help educate caller’s about the programs, check their eligibility, provide application information and check the benefit status. Those callers who are not eligible for USF or LIHEAP are referred to other utility assistance programs that may be able to assist. 

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.


The LIHEAP application serves as an application for three energy benefit programs at the same time – LIHEAP, USF and Weatherization.The Weatherization Program provides free comprehensive energy conservation improvements to reduce residential heat loss and energy consumption. Find the Weatherization Manager in Your Area.

Another weatherization program is Comfort Partners.

Universal Service Fund (USF)

The USF was created by the NJ Board of Public Utilities to help make natural gas and electric bills more affordable for low-income customers. Applications for this program are accepted throughout the year. 

The LIHEAP application is also an application for the USF. You apply for two benefit programs at the same time. Households eligible for USF will receive a monthly credit benefit towards their gas and electric bills. 

To be eligible, a household's gross income must be at or below 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (see table below) and pay more than 3% of its annual income for electric, or more than 3% for natural gas. If a household has electric heat, it must spend more than 6% of its annual income on electricity to be eligible. Benefits vary between $5 to $180 per month. Payments are credited monthly to the utility accounts. No money is ever sent to clients. USF benefits are only available to customers of the seven regulated electric (energy) companies in New Jersey which are: New Jersey Natural Gas Company; Elizabethtown Gas Company; South Jersey Gas Company; Public Service Electric & Gas Company; Rockland Electric Company; Jersey Central Power & Light and Atlantic City Electric Company.

If you move, the USF benefits are stopped until you contact your new utility company and inform them that you were receiving USF at your former residence. It is the responsibility of the new utility company to associate your USF benefits to the new account. Once this has been done your USF benefit level will be reevaluated. The level of benefits you receive may change because it is in part based upon the history of utility use in your new location.

Because the same application is used for LIHEAP and USF, the process and documentation required are the same. Review the application process noted above. For more information about USF, contact your local application agency, call 866-240-1347 or go to the state website.

USF Fresh Start

If you have a balance of $60 or more on your energy bill as a USF customer, you may be eligible for additional benefits under the New Jersey Fresh Start Program. Fresh Start is a partnership between the customer and USF to forgive past due balances and improve your payment record. Participants must pay the current USF-supplemented bill on time and in full every month and after 12 months of full on-time payments, the pre-USF program overdue balance will be erased. If you are eligible for Fresh Start when you enroll in USF, you will be automatically enrolled by your energy company and will be sent additional information about how the Fresh Start program works. For more information, call your electric or gas company.

Maximum MONTHLY GROSS Income Eligibility Guidelines

Household SizeUSF & LIHEAP Program
For each additional personadd $213

Updated 09/06/2023

If you are looking to recertify or check your online application status for HEA and USF, visit the Recertify and Check Application Status of Utility Assistance Benefits Online webpage for more information.

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