Millions of American families struggle to afford basic necessities. For these families, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a vital source of aid, helping them pay their energy bills and avoid having to choose between energy and other essentials, like food or medicine. Access to affordable energy is a matter of health and safety.

Key Facts

Who Benefits from LIHEAP?

  • LIHEAP recipients are among America’s most vulnerable citizens: More than 90 percent of households receiving LIHEAP include at least one person with a disability, a child under 18, a veteran, or a senior citizen.
  • 36 percent of households receiving LIHEAP assistance include a child under 18, 46 percent include an elderly resident, and more than 50 percent include a person with a disability.
  • In 2019, approximately 35 million households across the nation were eligible for LIHEAP assistance. Yet, inadequate funding for the program meant that only 6.8 million received basic help to pay their energy bills.
  • To be eligible for LIHEAP assistance, a family may only earn up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level—about $32,000 annually for a family of three—or 60 percent of the state’s median income level.

How LIHEAP Works

  • LIHEAP is an essential, widely supported federal program that delivers critical short-term aid to some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
  • Unlike some federal assistance programs that see their funding increase with need, like Social Security or food stamps, LIHEAP funding must be appropriated annually by Congress.
  • LIHEAP distributes funding to states, territories, and tribal governments, which in turn use the funds to help low-income households in their jurisdictions with home heating and cooling costs. LIHEAP funds also are used for emergency situations and for weatherization services.

Our Policy Platform

LIHEAP funding is authorized at $5.1 billion per year, and the President and Congress should ensure LIHEAP receives adequate appropriations to help millions of vulnerable Americans.