Who gives free appliances for low income families? The Government does. It not only can help get you new appliances if you are in need, but can also pay the energy bills, I wrote about that in a different article here – Need help paying bills?. There are some restrictions on income and eligibility. If you qualify, you can get free appliances installed for you, your home weatherized and you can also get some help paying the electric bills. These programs assist with utility deposits and bill payments, conduct home weatherization, and repair or replace certain appliances.
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
LIHEAP is a Federally-funded program that helps low-income households with their home energy bills. LIHEAP can help you stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer. By doing so, you can reduce the risk of health and safety problems (such as illness, fire, or eviction). The federal government does not provide energy assistance directly to the public. Instead, LIHEAP operates in the 50 States, the District of Columbia, Indian tribes or tribal organizations, and the U.S. territories.
How can I find out if I am eligible for the program?
The eligibility is mostly based on income. If you income is below a certain limit, for example 150% of federal poverty level – which means for a family of 4 your income is less than $33,525 you might be eligible. Each state has their own eligibility criteria and application process. I have included the links to the state specific programs and the income limit for each state here.
What do I Need to Provide When Applying
To apply for LIHEAP, you will need to provide the all/some of the following (based on the program):
- Recent copies of your utility bills
- A recent payroll stub or other proof that shows your current income
- Proof of any other income you receive, such as Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Pension Funds, or disability.
- A notice of final utility termination (if you’ve received a shut-off notice from your energy company)
- Proof of your current address, such as a lease, deed, or property tax bill
- Proof of total members living in your household, such as birth certificates or school records
- Social Security cards or numbers for all people living in your home
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or permanent residence
I don’t qualify for any of these or I can’t use these for some reason, what are my options?
All the programs receive limited funding, so if you apply late or if too many people apply you might be put in the waiting list. If that is the case or you are not eligible for these programs, you best bet would be your local church or charity. Contact your local Habitat for Humanity, sometimes they can provide free or low cost appliances for people in need. Subscribe to your local freecycle or Craigslist and request the appliance you need, people will contact you if they have one available. Salvation army or goodwill or any thrift store will also have cheap appliances.
Winter is not too far away and most of the heating programs take application in the early winter months. So apply early, stay safe and stay warm!