Low-income energy assistance program to provide help with heating bills

Colder temperatures and winter weather has arrived in Kansas. The dropping temperatures and necessity of raising the thermostat are leaving some families vulnerable when it comes to covering their heating bills.

The Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP), implemented in the state by the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF), allows peace of mind and financial assistance to families struggling to pay their heating bills during the cold winter months.

“LIEAP has helped our Kansas communities stay warm for many years,” DCF Secretary Laura Howard said. “It is an important and valued support program provided to families during cold Kansas winters.”

Last year, $47 million aided approximately 40,000 households in covering winter heating bills, averaging $1,180 per home.

To receive assistance, applicants must apply on the DCF website, www.dcf.ks.gov, by clicking “Apply for Services” or in person and be eligible according to the qualifications. Find a DCF service center closest to you at www.dcf.ks.gov/services/Pages/DCFOfficeLocatorMap.aspx.

The applications are available beginning Jan. 3, 2023, and must be received by 5 p.m., March 31. More information and FAQs on the LIEAP program is available at www.dcf.ks.gov/services/ees/Pages/EnergyAssistance.aspx.

To qualify, households must have an adult at the address that is responsible for the heating costs of the home. Applicants must be able to prove a recent history of payments on the energy bill (within the past three months), along with being at or below 150% of the federal poverty level.

The one-time assistance payment is determined by household income, number of persons living at the address, type of dwelling, and type of heating fuel.

Income eligibility guidelines are as follows. Funding for LIEAP is provided by the U.-S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Service through the Federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

  • Information from DCF

Low-income energy assistance program available to help Kansas residents with heating bills

A perfect storm of cold weather and expensive energy costs is headed to Kansas households heating bills this winter.

National gas costs are projected to rise by 30 percent while energy costs are expected to be six percent higher, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration and the Kansas Corporation Commission.

They explain that high natural gas and energy usage from Winter Storm Uri in February 2021, high demands on natural gas from heat waves this summer, energy shortages in Europe and Asia, and declining domestic production, all combined will cause energy and natural gas costs to be higher than normal this winter.

“This strain on already stressed family financial situations is cause for concern,” said DCF Secretary Laura Howard. “The Kansas Department for Children and Families is ready to assist Kansans with the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP).”

LIEAP provides an annual benefit to help qualifying households pay winter heating bills. Persons with disabilities, older adults and families with children are the primary groups assisted.

Applications for the program will be accepted beginning Monday, Jan. 3. In 2021, 38,750 households received an average benefit of $1,389, an increase from 2020 when about 34,000 households received an average benefit of $960.

To qualify, applicants must be responsible for direct payment of their heating bills. Income eligibility requirements are set at 150 percent of the federal poverty level. The level of benefit varies according to household income, number of people living in the home, type of residence, type of heating fuel and utility rates.
Applicants need to have made payments on their heating bill two out of the last three months. Those payments must be equal to or exceed $80 or the total balance due on their energy bills, whichever is less.

Applications for the program have been mailed to households that received energy assistance last year. LIEAP applications are also available at local DCF offices and through partnering agencies starting Jan. 3. They can be requested by calling 1-800-432-0043. To apply online, visit https://cssp.kees.ks.gov/apspssp/sspNonMed.portal. For more information, visit http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/ees/Pages/EnergyAssistance.aspx.

Applications will be accepted from Jan. 3 to 5 p.m. March 31.

Income eligibility determination:

Funding for the Low Income Energy Assistance program is provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Community Service through the Federal Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.