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Housing: LIHEAP

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program


How can LIHEAP help me?

LIHEAP may help you pay for energy costs for your home if you are eligible. In most cases, LIHEAP benefits are paid directly to your utility providers.

LIHEAP is not an entitlement program—the amount of money the state has to provide these services is limited. Service is basically provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Money for this program usually runs out quickly.

Who is eligible?

Your eligibility for energy assistance depends on your household’s total combined income for the 30 days before your application; your income must be equal to or less than the guidelines to the right. The income guidelines may change periodically; check the CEDA website for the most updated information.

If your heat or electricity or both are included in the rent, your monthly rent amount must be greater than 30% of your total combined income for the household in order to be eligible to receive assistance.

What benefits does LIHEAP provide?

LIHEAP provides assistance for winter gas costs or electricity costs or both in many ways:

  • Regular assistance provides a onetime Direct Vendor Payment (DVP) to your utility providers if you purchase energy directly. If you purchase energy  indirectly because your energy costs are included in your rent, you may receive a onetime payment made directly to you.
  • Percentage of Income Payment Plan allows clients of listed providers pay a percentage of their income, receive a monthly benefit toward a utility bill, and lower overdue bills for every on-time payment made by the bill due date.
  • Percentage of Income Payment Plan allows clients of listed providers pay a percentage of their income, receive a monthly benefit toward a utility bill, and lower overdue bills for every on- time payment made by the bill due date.
  • Emergency Services (ES) may be provided when your primary heat source is disconnected or, when you or someone in your household has a life-threatening medical condition, to prevent disconnection.
  • The weatherization component may help you with home repairs that will decrease your energy costs. More information can be found at Illinois.gov.

How do I apply?

Make an appointment to apply for LIHEAP at the Community Action Agency nearest you. To find a Community Action Agency in your area, go to Illinois.gov.

You should plan to wait in line during your application visit. The Community Action Agency for Cook County and Chicago is located at:

Community and Economic Development
Association of Cook County Inc. (CEDA)
208 S. LaSalle St., Suite 1900 (LIHEAP Suite 2010)
Chicago, IL 60604
Telephone: 800-571-2332
Hours of Operation: 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m

Bring the following documents:

  • Proof, such as paycheck stubs, of total income from all household members for the last 30 days;
  • A copy of your current heat and electric bills issued within the last 30 days;
  • A copy of your rental agreement if you are renting—the lease must show which utilities, if any, are included; your monthly rent amount; and contact information for your landlord;
  • Proof of Social Security numbers for all household members; and
  • Proof of any other public benefits you receive, such as TANF, SNAP, or medical assistance.

The LIHEAP application schedule prioritizes certain vulnerable populations. The general application schedule is: 

  • Beginning September 1 of any year: seniors and people with disabilities
  • Beginning October 1 of any year: households with children under five
  • Beginning November 1 of any year: all other eligible households

More Information and Resources

Call the Energy Assistance Hotline at 877-411-9276.

Visit the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) Energy Assistance website for information, including your rights.

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