Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Wilmington is now taking applications for Delaware households to qualify for benefits from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. This federally funded program assists low-income households with heating and electricity bills through direct payments to home energy suppliers. Catholic Charities is the statewide administrator for LIHEAP in Delaware.
“This benefit allows individuals and families to stay safely and comfortably in their homes. Although the program does not pay for all heating costs, it does provide an important financial supplement,” said Richelle A. Vible, Catholic Charities executive director. “So many of our neighbors suffer during the colder months because they can’t afford their energy bills – the senior citizen who turns off all electrical appliances and heat and bathes at a neighbor’s, the grandparents now raising grandchildren, a single parent in training for a better-paying job. These are just some of the many persons that are helped through the LIHEAP program.”
The LIHEAP benefit is based on a household’s income, size and type of fuel. LIHEAP offers the following supports to eligible households.
The Fuel Assistance Program provides home heating assistance for low-income families who need help paying winter energy bills. LIHEAP does not pay for all heating costs. Eligible households receive one annual benefit.
The Energy Crisis Intervention Program makes help available to eligible households in an emergency situation. This supplemental benefit can be in addition to the regular fuel assistance benefit.
The Summer Cooling/Electric Assistance Program helps low-income families by paying a portion of summer electric bills. Eligible households receive one annual benefit. The program operates from June 1 to Aug. 31 each year, if funds are available. In order to qualify for the Summer Cooling Program, households must be approved for the Fuel Assistance Heating Program.
Households may qualify for assistance if their total income falls within eligibility guidelines. For example, a household of four can have no more than $50,325 in annual household income, before taxes. Applicants make make an appointment with a Catholic Charities office for a personal interview. Applications are accepted from July through March.
In Sussex County, call 302-856-6310. Regular office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
If a household is eligible for LIHEAP, it may also qualify for other programs that require LIHEAP eligibility. For example, if a home is not as energy efficient as it could be, the household may qualify for home weatherization improvements through the Delaware Weatherization Assistance Program. Catholic Charities administers the Weatherization Assistance Program in Sussex and Kent counties.
When a client comes to their appointment, they should bring the following information to more quickly move the application forward.
- Social Security cards for all members 6 months of age and over
- Proof of U.S. citizenship [i.e. U.S. birth certificates or naturalization papers]
- Proof of Qualified Alien Status
- Photo ID with proof of current address
- Copy of utility bill (electric, natural gas, propane, etc.)
- Lease if renter, or proof of home ownership
- 3 months of income documentation for all adults in the household.
Catholic Charities, the charitable arm of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, has served those in need for over 188 years, offering a wide range of services to strengthen families, care for children, assist the disadvantaged, and build human relationships throughout Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.