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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 current 30-day gross income from all household members.
  • Copy of the most recent heat and electric bills, if you pay for your home energy directly.
  • Proof of Social Security numbers of all household members (hard copy of Social Security cards, print out from the Social Security Administration or any other form of government-issued identification that shows both name and Social Security Number).
  • If a member of your household receives TANF, you must bring that person’s Medical Eligibility Card.
  • Applicants that have their utilities included in the rent must bring proof of the rental agreement stating the monthly rental amount, that utilities are included, and landlord contact information. Rent costs must be greater than 30 percent of current household 30-day gross income.

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).