Governor Parson Announces LIHEAP Energy Assistance Program Changes to Help More Missourians Pay Energy Bills
Tue, 04/27/2021 - 4:04pm admin
Governor Mike Parson announced last week that the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Energy Assistance (EA) Program is extending one-time primary heating bill payments through May 31, 2021.
In addition, eligibility for both the heating and cooling programs are expanding from Missouri households with incomes up to 135 percent of the Federal Poverty Level to include Missouri households with an income of up to 60 percent of State Median Income (SMI). This change will now allow a family of four with an annual income of up to $51,021 to receive benefits compared to an annual income of $35,364.
"Missourians have spent a lot more time at home due to COVID-19, especially those learning and working remotely, which has caused some families to have higher than normal energy bills," Governor Parson said. "Expanding the current LIHEAP Energy Assistance heating program time frame and the household income eligibility for this year's heating and cooling programs will help relieve more families of this financial strain."
In addition to meeting the income criteria, households must also meet the following criteria to qualify for LIHEAP:
-Be responsible for paying home heating costs
-Have $3,000 or less in bank accounts, retirement accounts, or investments
-All household members must be a U.S. citizen or legally admitted for permanent residence
In Federal Fiscal Year 2020, Missouri provided $78.6 million in LIHEAP assistance to over 108,000 households. In February, Governor Parson announced that the winter LIHEAP Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP) would pledge the maximum disconnect amount (up to $800) this year toward an eligible participant's owed balance to quickly and more easily resolve a household's crisis.
"Extreme cold temperatures this winter, particularly during the month of February, also led to abnormally high utility bills for many households," Governor Parson said. "LIHEAP is a great resource to assist with these costs, and we encourage Missourians to take advantage of the program to help pay off outstanding winter balances."
Winter ECIP runs November through May and helps get low-income households out of crisis when its energy source has been shut off or is at risk of disconnection. Low-income Missourians who have received a disconnect notice or know a disconnect notice is coming should get help now to prevent service disconnection later.
Missourians can submit a LIHEAP application form online, by mail or fax, or drop off a paper application form in person.
Missourians in need of information on LIHEAP, Food Stamp, Medicaid, Child Care Subsidy, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefit programs can visit dss.mo.gov. Individuals can also apply for these services 24/7 online by visiting MyDSS.mo.gov, sending completed applications and verification documents by email to FSD.Documents@dss.mo.gov, or by fax to 573-526-9400.