In response to COVID-19, the Department of Social Services is extending the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) from March 31 to May 31, for Missourians who have not previously applied, according to a press release from the department. LIHEAP helps low-income Missourians with a one-time payment for their primary heating bills from November through May 31. To be eligible for the program, low-income Missourians must:

Be responsible for paying home heating costs, Have $3,000 or less in bank accounts, retirement accounts, or investments, Have a household income less than 135 percent of the federal poverty level (a monthly income of $2,400 for a family of three or $2,897 for family of four) and, Be a U.S. citizen or legally admitted for permanent residence.

“We want low-income Missourians to utilize LIHEAP to help reduce the financial strain they are facing so those dollars that may have been used for an energy bill can now pay for other essential needs,” said Jennifer Tidball, acting director, Department of Social Services. “In addition to LIHEAP, low-income Missourians may also qualify for the Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP) that helps pay fuel bills when a household’s energy is shut off, threatened to be shut off, or if the household is in threat of disconnection, but may not have received a disconnection notice. Although energy providers may not be shutting off utilities at the present time, it is very important for low-income Missourians that have received a notice or know a notice will be coming to get help now to prevent service disconnection at a later date.”

The amount of Energy Crisis Intervention Program help is based on the amount of money needed to settle a household’s crisis with the energy provider. The maximum amount is $800 for the winter ECIP program that runs from November through May.

For Federal Fiscal Year 2019, (October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019), 114,639 Missouri households received LIHEAP assistance.