As a single mother struggling to get by, often it takes all the money to pay the rent or mortgage, feed the children, and provide them with basic necessities. When the water, gas, and electric bills come, the financial burden can become overwhelming.

One solution is to request different bill dates for these utilities, so finances can be properly managed. Another option is to apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

The LIHEAP program is offered in every U.S. state, the District of Columbia, 140 Indian Tribes, and five U.S. territories to single mothers with qualifying incomes.

The grant money provided varies based on family size and income level which will appears as a credit on the utility bill each month.

In 2010, the government had a block grant amount of $5.1 billion for LIHEAP. States, Indian tribes, and territories apply for this grant to assist their low-income residents with meeting home energy costs. Emphasis is placed on helping pay winter fuel bills.

The formula for fund distribution is dependent on the state’s low-income population and weather. Both heating and cooling costs for residential dwellings are included.

To be eligible for a LIHEAP grant, the household income cannot exceed the greater of 60 percent of the median income in the State or 150 percent of the poverty level.

Income eligibility criteria for LIHEAP may not be set lower than 110 percent of the poverty. However, they may give priority to households with the highest needs or home energy costs in relation to income.1

To find out where to apply for a LIHEAP grant, you can contact the National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR) via telephone at 1-866-674-6327 (TOLL-FREE) or email at

Alternatively, you can also contact the state LIHEAP agency to get more information about how to apply for this program.

In addition to getting bill paying assistance, you may also receive energy-related home repairs, weatherization, and energy crisis assistance.


  1. Source: LIHEAP Eligibility Criteria []

Last updated: June 15, 2012 by & filed under Housing Assistance

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