Skip to the content

Staying Warm in PA with Winter Heating Assistance

by Danielle Smith, Keystone State News Connection

Staying Warm in PA with Winter Heating Assistance

Higher fuel prices and a bitterly cold start to this winter mean it will cost more for most people to heat their homes, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

There is help available for qualifying Pennsylvania households. Applications are being taken for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program through April 28 by the Department of Human Services.

Patrick Cicero, consumer advocate for the State of Pennsylvania, said no matter your home’s heating source, you do not have to be behind on your bill to be eligible for a cash grant.

“It is available for households that have income that is at or below 150% of the federal poverty level,” Cicero explained. “A single-person household, income that’s at or below $20,385. For a household of four, household income below $41,625.”

Cicero added the grant size depends on household size, income and fuel type, and can range from $300 to $1,000. When the U.S. Senate passed the most recent spending bill, it included $5 billion for the program nationwide.

People can apply online at compass.state.pa.us, or by phone at 866-550-4355.

Cicero also warned anyone to be on the alert for scams claiming to offer heating assistance. He pointed out the Department of Human Services is not going to contact you to sign up for the program. You have to initiate the process.

“One of the things you don’t want to do is if somebody comes in around to your house looking, saying, ‘Hey, we want to check to see if you applied for LIHEAP.’ Be wary of that,” Cicero cautioned. “There are a lot of scammers out there who are trying to get people’s information, and they know it’s LIHEAP season.”

He added there also are so-called “crisis grants” of up to $1,000 for people whose utilities have been shut off or are behind on their bills.