JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Gov. Mike Parson is extending the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Energy Assistance (EA) Program for one-time primary heating bill payments through May 31 of this year.
The state is expanding eligibility for both the heating and cooling programs for Missouri households with incomes up to 135 percent of the Federal Poverty Level to include Missouri households with an income of up to 60 percent of State Median Income (SMI).
This change will now allow a family of four with an annual income of up to $51,021 to receive benefits compared to an annual income of $35,364.
“Missourians have spent a lot more time at home due to COVID-19, especially those learning and working remotely, which has caused some families to have higher than normal energy bills,” Governor Parson said. “Expanding the current LIHEAP Energy Assistance heating program time frame and the household income eligibility for this year’s heating and cooling programs will help relieve more families of this financial strain.”
In addition to meeting the income criteria, households must also meet the following criteria to qualify for LIHEAP:
- Be responsible for paying home heating costs
- Have $3,000 or less in bank accounts, retirement accounts, or investments
- All household members must be a U.S. citizen or legally admitted for permanent residence
- In Federal Fiscal Year 2020, Missouri provided $78.6 million in LIHEAP assistance to over 108,000 households. In February, Governor Parson announced that the winter LIHEAP Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP) would pledge the maximum disconnect amount (up to $800) this year toward an eligible participant’s owed balance to quickly and more easily resolve a household’s crisis.
“Extreme cold temperatures this winter, particularly during the month of February, also led to abnormally high utility bills for many households,” Governor Parson said. “LIHEAP is a great resource to assist with these costs, and we encourage Missourians to take advantage of the program to help pay off outstanding winter balances.”