Governor J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) are encouraging Illinois families in need to apply for $300 million in funding for energy bill assistance through the Help Illinois Families program. Families who meet the criteria and provide the required documentation are eligible to receive assistance for natural gas, propane and electricity through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).
“Every Illinoisan deserves access to reliable energy—regardless of their economic status,” said Governor Pritzker. “Thanks to LIHEAP, we are making natural gas, propane and electricity assistance accessible for our state’s families that are feeling the squeeze from rising costs of living. My administration has always been—and will always be—committed to making sure that every resident has access to the services they need to keep the lights on.”
Beginning September 1, families can apply by clicking here or by visiting their local agency. A list of agencies in the state organized by county can be found by clicking here. Residents can call 1-833-711-0374 for assistance in 30 languages at any point during the application process.
“Starting September 1st, support with energy bills is available through DCEO’s Help Illinois Families program and all households who meet the income threshold are eligible for support with their utility bills,” said DCEO Director Sylvia I. Garcia. “Families who earn up to two-times the federal poverty level qualify for help, which means a family of four making around $55,000 a year or less is eligible. I encourage all Illinois families in need of assistance to visit our website or call our hotline to learn more and apply.”
LIHEAP provides one-time payments directly to energy service providers on behalf of recipients. The amount of support varies based on the needs of individual families, but last year’s LIHEAP recipients received an average of $1,330 per household. All families who meet the qualifications and provide proper documentation will receive support until funding is exhausted. Families who earn up to two-times the federal poverty level are eligible to receive support through LIHEAP. Last year’s LIHEAP funding, which was available from September 2021 through May 2022, provided a record level of assistance to 302,000 households.
The State of Illinois offers other programs to help eligible low-income families with utility assistance. These programs are open to all eligible low-income Illinois families who meet the criteria, including undocumented families. These programs include:
- One-time Direct Vendor Payment: All LIHEAP recipients receive a one-time payment.
- Crisis/Reconnection Assistance: Funding is available for families in heating-related emergency situations.
- Furnace Assistance: Based on funding availability, Furnace Assistance may be provided to households that don’t have a working furnace for their residence.
- Home Weatherization Program: The Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program (IHWAP) helps low income residents and households conserve energy and reduce costs by making their homes and apartments more energy efficient.
- Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program: The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) provides eligible households up to $400 for water and wastewater services, based on poverty level. Households facing the threat of imminent disconnection, or those that have already been disconnected, may be eligible for a benefit of up to $1,500. The application for LIHWAP is open through September 30, 2023, pending funding availability.
In addition to LIHEAP and available state resources, the federal government recently unveiled several initiatives through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) designed to lower energy costs for families, including federal rebates for the installation of energy efficient appliances, rebates for families to make improvements for energy efficiency and more.