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Free appliances for low income families

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.

State LIHEAP Program link Income Eligibility – Income has to be below
AL Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs 150% of federal poverty level
AK Alaska Heating Assistance Program 150% and 225% of the poverty income guidelines
AZ Arizona Department of Economic Security 200% of federal poverty level
AR Arkansas Department of Human Services 150% of federal poverty level
CA California Department of Community Services and Development 200% of federal poverty guidelines
CO Colorado Department of Human Services 185% of the federal poverty level
CT Connecticut Energy Assistance Program 150% Federal Poverty Level ; 200% Federal Poverty Level (seniors and disabled)
DE Delaware Department of Health and Social Services 200% of federal poverty guidelines
FL Florida Department of Housing and Community Development 150% of federal poverty level
GA Georgia Heating Energy Assistance Team (H.E.A.T.) 60% State Median Income
HI Hawaii Department of Human Services 150% of federal poverty level
ID Community Action Partnership Association of Idaho (CAPAI) 60% State Median Income
IL Illinois Energy Assistance Community Action Agencies 150% of federal poverty level
IN Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority 150% of federal poverty level
IA Iowa Division of Human Rights 150% of federal poverty level
KS Kansas Low Income Energy Assistance Program 130% of federal poverty level
KY Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family services 130% of federal poverty level
LA Louisiana Housing Finance Agency 60% State Median Income
ME Maine State Housing Authority 228% Federal Poverty Level or 75% State Median Income
MD Maryland Department of Human Resources 175% of federal poverty level
MA Massachusetts Housing and development programs 60% State Median Income
MI Michigan Department of Human Services 110% of federal poverty level
MN Minnesota Office of energy security 50% State Median Income
MS Mississippi Department of Human Services 150% of federal poverty level
MO Missouri Department of Social Services 135% of federal poverty level
MT Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services 200% of federal poverty level
NE Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services 116% of federal poverty level
NV Nevada Division of welfare and supportive services (Click on the Energy assistance link at the top) 150% of federal poverty level
NH New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning Fuel Assistance Program 200% of federal poverty level
NJ New Jersey Department of Community Affairs 200% of federal poverty level
NM New Mexico Human Services Department 150% of federal poverty level
NY New York Office of temporary and disability assistance 150% of federal poverty level
NC North Carolina Division of Social Services 110% of federal poverty level
ND North Dakota Department of Human Services 60% State Median Income
OH Ohio Department of Development 200% of federal poverty level
OK Oklahoma Department of Human Services 130% of federal poverty level
OR Oregon Housing and Community Services 60% State Median Income
PA Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare 160% of federal poverty level
RI Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources 60% State Median Income
SC South Carolina Office of Economic Opportunity 150% of federal poverty level
SD South Dakota Department of Social Services 200% of federal poverty level
TN Tennessee Department of Human Services 200% of federal poverty level
TX Texas Department of Housing and community affairs 200% of federal poverty level
UT Utah State Energy Assistance & Lifeline 150% of federal poverty level
VT Vermont Department for Children & Families 185% of federal poverty level
VA Virginia Department of Social Services 130% of federal poverty level
WA Washington state LIHEAP 125% of federal poverty level
WV West Virginia Health & Human Resources 130% of federal poverty level
WI Wisconsin Division of Energy Services 60% State Median Income
WY Wyoming Department of Family Services 60% State Median Income

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!

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