Improved heating assistance through LIHEAP

Chillicothe News

There is now improved assistance offered to qualifying Missourians through Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Energy Crisis Intervention Program. 

“We are very pleased to announce this improvement to the Energy Crisis Intervention Program, especially given the extreme winter weather our state is currently facing,” Governor Mike Parson said. “Since many Missourians remain in crisis for subsequent months, paying only the minimum to keep a low-income household out of crisis tends to prolong the situation. Now, we can make it faster and easier to resolve a household’s crisis situation.”

The governor announced the changes on Feb. 16, after temperatures had fallen below zero, with and without windchills, for nearly two weeks across the state. 

According to a press release from the governor's office, when a household’s energy source has been shut off or is at risk of disconnection, the winter Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP), which runs November through May, pays the minimum amount needed on the fuel bill to get the household out of crisis. Starting this winter, ECIP will pledge the maximum disconnect amount (up to $800) toward an eligible participant’s owed balance.

“Winter can be especially harsh for low-income Missourians, and we must do all that we can to assure they can heat their homes to remain safe and healthy,” said Missouri Department of Social Services Acting Director Jennifer Tidball.

In Fiscal Year 2020, Missouri provided $78.6 million in LIHEAP assistance to over 108,000 households. In addition to meeting the income criteria, low-income Missourians must also meet the following criteria to be eligible for winter heating assistance through LIHEAP:

  • Be responsible for paying home heating costs,
  • Have $3,000 or less in bank accounts, retirement accounts, or investments, and
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legally admitted for permanent residence.

"It is very important for low-income Missourians who have received a disconnect notice or know a disconnect notice is coming to get help now to prevent service disconnection at a later date," the press release said.

Missourians can submit the LIHEAP application form online, at https://protect-us.mimecast.com/s/2w5PCqxpKYf1XJx82f1qWOj?domain=lnks.gd.

Missourians in need of information on LIHEAP, Food Stamp, Medicaid, Child Care Subsidy, or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefit programs can visit dss.mo.gov. Individuals can also apply for these services 24/7 online by visiting MyDSS.mo.gov.

Those with questions not specific to an individual’s case can use the DSS Virtual Assistant for immediate answers to basic questions 24 hours a day. Phone assistance is also available by calling 855-FSD-INFO or 855-373-4636 Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Missouri Services Navigator also has information on over 2,800 programs and services available in the state.