Snow has already fallen in the QCA, and before you know it, the cold will be here to stay, which can mean higher heating bills. But what if you can’t afford the costs of keeping your home warm?

A federally-funded program is available to help during the winter heating season. LIHEAP, or the low-income home energy assistance program, helps those who are struggling financially and qualify for state assistance to pay winter heating bills. States receive and administer funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

“We encourage customers who are facing financial challenges to apply for LIHEAP funds and other assistance through their local community action outreach office or state LIHEAP administrator,” Mike Gehringer, vice president of customer operations for MidAmerican Energy, said. “For qualifying households, these extra funds can help ease the strain on monthly budgets.”

According to a release:

Illinois LIHEAP
To be eligible for LIHEAP in Illinois, the total household income for an applicant must be at or below 200% of 2022 federal poverty guidelines. For example, a single-person household is eligible with an annual gross income at or below $27,180, and a family of four is eligible with an annual gross income at or below $55,500.

Customers are encouraged to apply as soon as possible for LIHEAP to ensure they receive the assistance they need. The program will accept applications now through May 31, 2023. To apply, Illinois residents in Rock Island, Mercer and Henry counties should contact Project NOW, at (309) 793-6391. Residents can also call the state’s LIHEAP hotline at 833-711-0374.

Iowa LIHEAP
Community action agencies in Iowa review applications and administer grant funds. Household income and size, type of primary heating fuel, housing type and other factors are considered.

To be eligible for LIHEAP in Iowa, the total household income for an applicant must be at or below 200% of 2022 federal poverty guidelines. For example, a single-person household is eligible with an annual gross income at or below $27,180. A family of four is eligible with an annual gross income at or below $55,500. The program began taking applications October 1 for those 60 years old or older and will accept applications beginning November 1 for all others. The program accepts applications through April 30, 2023.

Eligible customers who need help with energy bills should apply for LIHEAP at a local community action agency. The Iowa Department of Human Rights has additional information about the program and eligibility requirements.

MidAmerican Energy

To help those in need, customers can donate to MidAmerican’s I CARE program, which provides funding to area community action agencies to assist low-income residents with heating bills and home weatherization. For more information, click here.