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Need help affording your utilities? You may qualify for bill assistance

We talk to utility customers every day at CUB, so we know people are hurting and worried about paying their utility bills. If you cannot afford your utilities, you may be eligible for financial assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program–or LIHEAP.

LIHEAP helps low-income consumers pay their electric and gas bills. About 350,000 Illinois households get LIHEAP funding of some kind, although that number is expected to increase as a result of the current economic crisis.

In anticipation of this uptick in applications for financial assistance, Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced on June 15 an additional $275 million in funding for LIHEAP and similar programs.

The Illinois General Assembly also amended the Energy Assistance Act to allow more people to qualify for assistance. Previously, qualified applicants for the LIHEAP had to have an income less than 150 percent of the poverty level. The new amendment bumps the threshold for qualification to 200 percent. The new income limit is applicable through June 30, 2021. To see if your income qualifies, consult this chart.

If you are interested in applying, you will need the following information/qualifications:

  • Proof of gross income from all household members for the previous 30 days
  • A copy of current heat and electric bills
  • Proof of Social Security numbers, Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers OR immigration status for all household members
  • Proof of anyone in the household receiving TANF, SNAP, Medical Eligibility or other assistance from the Illinois Department of Human Services
  • A copy of rental agreement if utilities are included, showing the rent amount and landlord contact info

Funding is currently available and potential program participants are encouraged to apply. To see if you qualify, call the LIHEAP Hotline at 1-877-411-9276 (WARM).