Biden admin hands out $4.5 billion to help with heating bills: How to apply for assistance

(WANE) – Billions of dollars in federal aid are being made available to help Americans with their heating bills through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

The Biden administration said Wednesday that about $4.5 billion has been allocated to LIHEAP this winter to help low-income families pay their energy or electric bills, or in some cases, the cost of weathering or to cover repairs.

The funds will be distributed to state, territory and tribal governments this week.

Founded in 1981, LIHEAP is funded through grants approved by Congress. Typical annual funding is about $3.5 billion, the Associated Press reported, though allocations totaled $8 billion last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which operates the assistance program, said LIHEAP helped 5.3 million families in 2021.

“For more than 40 years, this program has helped low-income families pay their heating and cooling bills,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra in a press release issued Wednesday. “With heating bills rising, it’s more important than ever to help families who are struggling to make ends meet. With this funding, we will help protect the health and wellbeing of Americans by keeping them safe and warm this winter.”

Officials from states across the country continue to closely monitor weather forecasts ahead of winter. Resources have tightened amid war in Ukraine, and inflation has contributed to rising fuel costs over the past year. Even the US Department of Energy is forecasting sharp hikes in home heating prices compared to last winter, the Associated Press reported.

Families seeking help from LIHEAP can learn more and apply for assistance with the US Department of Health and Human Services. Aid is distributed across states, territories, or tribal governments, and availability depends on income, family size, or resource availability.

In addition to the $4.5 billion allocated for LIHEAP, the Department of Energy is providing “nearly $9 billion” for states and tribes to invest in home efficiency programs to help modernize homes The White House announced on Wednesday that it would help up to 1.6 million households.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Biden admin hands out $4.5 billion to help with heating bills: How to apply for assistance

Dais Johnston

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