How to Claim Oklahoma Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program

For Oklahomans, freezing weather have arrived a bit later than usual this winter. And now that it's finally here, temperature is expected to stay low for a while before warmer weather returns for the Spring season

Yet the state will probably face more unpredictable weather this year. According to scientists, a hotter-than-last-year summer lies ahead as the El Niño exert its full impact.

For lower income households in the state, this couldn't come at a worse time as there's now a good chance that Oklahoma's main energy supplier will raise prices later this year.

Thankfully, after enduring a scorching summer last year, many people have come to understand the importance of planning ahead and exploring energy-saving methods to alleviate the financial burden. But even if you haven't, there's no need to panic. In this blog, we will give you a comprehensive introduction to how the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) works in Oklahoma, including the types of financial assistance covered, eligibility requirements, and the application process.

What is Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)?

LIHEAP is a federally-funded financial assistance program for low income households and individuals, particularly those who have to allocate a significant portion of their income towards home energy costs.

One of its more specific goals is to ensure that uninterrupted energy services in winter and summer are available for qualifying residents in Oklahoma that have an income at or below 130 percent of federal poverty guidelines. So if you falls under this income bracket, make sure to keep reading on to find out more.

Available assistance

Available assistance

The LIHEAP program can be broken down into three components. For each component, there's only one payment available for a single household. The three components are

  • Seasonal support: Winter heating
  • Seasonal Support: Summer cooling
  • Year-round support for life-threatening cases: Energy Crisis Assistance Program (ECAP)

For cooling bills or heating bills, LIHEAP funding will y pay for the primary source of the utility your household uses. ECAP, on the other hand, pays only the minimum amount required to avoid a service interruption or restore the service. It will pay the utility vendor that addresses your energy crisis.

Eligibility requirements

Eligibility requirements

To qualify for the two seasonal supports, or non-emergency LIHEAP assistance, the requirements are as follow

  • United States citizen or legally admitted permanent residents
  • Responsible for payment of home energy costs: For example, you can't apply for the program if someone who is living somewhere else pays your energy bills
  • Meet resource standards: Liquid resources in the form of cash, checking or savings accounts, certificates of deposits, stocks, or bonds cannot exceed $4,250 for households with an elderly or disabled member and $2,750 for all other households.
  • Meet specific income guidelines: For example, the maximum gross income should be at or below $2,137 per month for a household of two, and $3,250 per month for a household of four.

Note that LIHEAP defines “Household” a bit differently than from other assistance programs. It refers to a group of individuals who are living “under the same roof” with one utility meter.

ECAP Requirements:

In the case of ECAP, applicants will be asked to provide verification, including a note from a licensed health care professional and other additional documents from the utility provider as the proof of emergency, including:

  • An active cut-off order and be within the 72 hours cut-off window at the time of application; or
  • A written notice for new service establishment or service restoration with minimum amount required for security deposit and other fees; or
  • A written notice refusing to deliver additional fuel without a minimum payment; or
  • Verification that the household entered into a payment plan to prevent cut-off with a minimum amount required to resolve to crisis for one month.

If the above sound complicated, an easy way to find out whether you qualify is to check if anyone in your household is enrolled in another federal government programs, which includes:

If there's a participant of these programs in your household, you'll be automatically qualified for LIHEAP.

Application process

The seasonal support provided by LIHEAP has specific application periods, and the open enrollment period can vary slightly from year to year depending on the receipt of available funding. Generally, applications for winter heating assistance start being accepted every December, while summer cooling assistance begins in June.

This year, winter heating applications has been closed at January 12, 2024. While anticipated open enrollment dates summer cooling applications is June 18, 2024.

Once we are in the open enrollment period, you can apply either online through OKDHSLIVE.org or over the phone at (405)522-5050. Based on experience, if you do have internet access we recommend that you apply online as the wait time for phone application can be frustrating!!

Because summer cooling and winter heating are not emergency assistance components, their processing time can take up to 60 calendar days. So make sure that during this period you have enough resources to continue to pay your utility bills to avoid a cut-off.

If your household includes anyone who is Native American, you may choose to apply for the program through Oklahoma Department of Human Services or with the person's tribe. However, this does not mean that you can receive assistance for your utility bill for the same component from both authorities during the same federal fiscal year. As long as you meet all the requirements, you can apply for and possibly be eligible for all three components.

More cost-saving benefits with EASY Wireless

More cost-saving benefits with EASY Wireless

As mentioned earlier, applying for LIHEAP online can save you much time compared with doing it over the phone. So one other thing you may want to check is whether you have access to reliable internet services.

Here's another good news: did you know that ff you are eligible for LIHEAP assistances, you may also have the opportunity to save more on mobile phones and internet services in Oklahoma!

Why is that? It is because meeting the income requirements of LIHEAP may make you eligible for two more federal funded programs: The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and Lifeline. By applying for the programs through EASY Wireless, you will be rewarded an exciting Unlimited Plan that includes a FREE smartphone.

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)

You may have heard the ACP before. It aims to enable low income families to access affordable high-quality phone and internet connection. If your family income is at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or any family member participates in government assistance programs like SNAP or WIC, your family will be eligible families for the benefit, which is a monthly discount on broadband service up to $30 (up to $75 if you live on qualifying tribal lands).

The Lifeline Program

Similar as ACP, Lifeline provides a monthly discount up to $9.25 ($34.25 for residents on qualifying tribal lands) for mobile services to low-income individuals and families. If your or your family income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or you participate in government assistance programs like SSI, SNAP and Medicaid, you will qualify for the program.

FREE WIRELESS PLANS

If you qualify for the ACP or Lifeline and apply directly through EASY Wireless, you can score the EASY Wireless Unlimited Plan, which includes the below benefits on top of FREE smartphone:

  • FREE Unlimited Data
  • FREE Unlimited Talk
  • FREE Unlimited Text
  • FREE SIM Card Kit and Activation
  • Choose to Keep Your Number or Get a New One

To get started with EASY Wireless, apply online by clicking the below:

Start Saving Today!

Or you can come to one of the EASY Wireless's retail stores, where our customer service agent will help you apply for the benefits.

Visit us for all your cell phone and wireless service needs today!