How Do I Get Help Paying My Electric Bill If I Have a Low Income?

The LIHEAP program can help pay a portion of your utility bill.
The LIHEAP program can help pay a portion of your utility bill. (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

When you live on a meager income, you may face times when you cannot pay all of your bills. If you cannot pay your essential bills, such as utility payments, you risk more than a late fee or a ding on your credit report. During the summer or winter months, living without utilities can pose a serious risk to your health. If you find yourself struggling to cover the cost of your utilities, the federally managed Low Income Heating and Energy Assistance Program can help.

Things You'll Need

  • Driver's license
  • Social Security numbers
  • Paystubs
  • Proof of income
  • Proof of residency
  • Utility bill
  • Disconnection notice

Collect basic proof of identification for everyone in your household. This can include your driver's license, state issued ID card, passports or Social Security cards. As a primary applicant, you will need to supply proof of identity. You will also need to supply proof of the total members in your household as well as Social Security numbers for each member.

Gather proof of your income. To meet qualification guidelines for assistance, you will need to prove that your income falls into the low-income range. You will need copies of your recent paystubs, as well as proof of any other income you have, such as Social Security payments.

Gather proof of your current residence. You must prove that you reside in the state where you apply for LIHEAP assistance. You can use a copy of your lease for a rental property, or a copy of a recent bill sent to your home address as proof of residency.

Obtain a copy of a recent utility bill. A caseworker will review your most recent utility bill to determine your financial needs.

Obtain a copy of a disconnection or termination notice from your utility provider if the provider has disconnected your utilities. You may receive assistance faster if you have had a disconnection in your service.

Bring your documents to a LIHEAP state agency in your area. You will need to visit the office in person. Complete an application for assistance. You may need to complete an interview with a caseworker, depending on the LIHEAP program regulations in your state.

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