What is LIHEAP?

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federally funded block grant administered through the Iowa Department of Human Rights/Division of Community Action Agencies. It is designed to help eligible low-income Iowa households in the payment of a portion of their non-business residential heating costs for the winter heating season. The state contracts with community action agencies throughout Iowa for local program delivery.

The LIHEAP payment is made directly to energy suppliers for households who heat with natural gas, electricity, liquid propane, fuel oil, wood, and coal.

Five-percent of program funds are allocated under the Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP). These funds can be used for emergency fuel delivery, repair or replacement of furnace/heating system, temporary shelter, and purchase of blankets and/or heaters, fans and air conditioners.

Up to five percent of program funds may be allocated to conduct assessment and resolution activities. Such activities include: budget counseling, energy education, outside referrals, arranging deferred or budget payment plans, staying a disconnect, or negotiating payments or reconnections on the behalf of clients. Other activities include improving accessibility to the program to potential clients, making home visits, traveling to alternate intake sights and providing publicity concerning availability of Energy Assistance.

Fifteen percent of program funds are transferred to the Weatherization Assistance Program.

Last year, approximately 80,346 households received benefits from LIHEAP. The average payment was approximately $470 per household.

How is LIHEAP funded?

Currently funds are received in the form of a block grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

What are the eligibility guidelines for LIHEAP?

A household applying for LIHEAP must report total household income for all persons 18 years of age and older. The household has the option to choose an income qualification period of either annual income or the past ninety (90) days.

Applications for the regular LIHEAP program will be accepted from November 1, 2016 (October 1, 2016 for the elderly and disabled) through April 30, 2017.

The total household income for an applicant must be at or below 175 percent of the 2016 federal poverty guidelines which are listed below:




Month Gross



Gross Income

1   $  5,198   $ 20,790
2       7,009      28,035
3       8,820      35,280
4     10,631      42,525
5     12,443      49,770
6     14,254      57,015


Are there any exceptions to the guidelines?

Residents of any licensed medical facility (hospital, skilled nursing facility, or intermediate care facility) publicly operated community residence or emergency shelter is ineligible unless they are paying a vendor directly for their primary heating source. Persons living in publicly assisted housing units who are not vulnerable to the rising cost of heat are ineligible.

Where can LIHEAP applications be obtained? Citizens may apply at their local community action agency from November 1, 2016 (October 1 for elderly/ disabled persons) through April 30, 2017. The local agency is South Central Iowa Community Action Program (SCICAP), 306 North Main, Suite 1, Leon, IA 50144, phone number 641-446-4454, and email

How does a household apply for LIHEAP?

All households interested in applying for LIHEAP must fully complete the one page application. It is very important that the application be filled out completely. Application forms may be obtained from any community action agency outreach office or neighborhood center. Further information can be obtained from the web-site or by calling 515-281-0859 or 515-281-3861.

Applicants must furnish social security numbers for all household members, a copy of the households most recent heating and electric bill or any other documents showing the account numbers or energy suppliers, along with proof of the household’s gross income for the past ninety days or for the past calendar year.

Completed applications need to be mailed or delivered to the local community action agency outreach office or neighborhood center, or in care of LIHEAP, Iowa Department of Human Rights, Division of Community Action Agencies, Lucas State Office Building, Des Moines, Iowa 50319.

What is Proof of Income?

Documents that offer proof of total household gross income from all sources must be provided for the processing of the application. Those on a fixed income may include: Social Security Benefits, Supplemental Security Income, Aid to Families with Dependence Children or Family Investment Program, Veteran’s Assistance, Unemployment Insurance, pensions etc should include copy of the most recent check. Wage earners can attach copies of check stubs for the three months preceding the date of application or a copy of their federal income tax return. Self-Employed persons or Farmers should attach their most recent federal income tax return. TANF or FIP Recipients should bring their current DHS Notice of Decision or copy of their check.

How is the LIHEAP award determined?

The energy assistance award is based on the amount of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance block grant appropriation and the number of qualifying households. The individual grant is based on household income, household size, type of primary heating fuel, type of housing, and targeting factors. Those targeting factors assure that households with the greatest need will receive the highest level of assistance. How are payments made? Payments are made to the home energy suppliers in the form of a single payment. The client’s assistance shall remains as a credit on the client’s account until the program assistance is expended or the account is terminated. The basic energy assistance award is to be applied to the cost of the heating source supplying the household’s non-business residential primary heating fuel. The assistance award for households whose primary source of heat is wood will be forwarded to the household electric supplier if a suitable wood vendor is not available. If no electric supplier exists, a direct payment may be made. All payments are awarded on a first-come/first-serve basis.

How can further information about LIHEAP be obtained?

Information can be obtained at the website: or check the telephone book for listings under “community action agencies”, or write to: LIHEAP, Iowa Department of Human Rights, Division of Community Action Agencies, Lucas State Office Building, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. Telephone: 515-281-3861 or 515-281-0859 - for hearing impaired with a telecommunication device for the deaf (TTD), call RELAY IOWA on their toll-free number 1-800-735-2942.