The CEFS Economic Opportunity Corporation will begin accepting applications for the 2021 Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) on Monday, July 27, 2020, through June 30, 2021, as funding allows. The Percentage of Income Payment Program (PIPP) will be offered to Ameren customers as available funding allows starting on Tuesday Sept. 1, 2020, through March 31, 2021. Appointments can be made by contacting the local CEFS County Outreach offices.

To address the increased need for utility assistance due to COVID-19, there will be some significant changes to the 2021 program in addition to the early start date. This year there will be no priority periods for application intake. The program will open to everyone on July 27. Additionally, the income guidelines have increased for the new program year.

LIHEAP provides one-time benefits to income-eligible homeowners and renters to help with energy bills and for reconnection of energy service. Propane customers are encouraged to apply when the program opens in July to take greater advantage of lower summer propane prices. Propane prices typically increase during the winter months, so by applying early, propane users will see their LIHEAP benefit go further. Items needed at the time of application include proof of all household income for the previous 30 days, including the day of application, Social Security cards for all members of the household, and current heating and electric bills.

While PIPP income eligibility remains at 150% of the federal poverty level, LIHEAP income eligibility guidelines have increased to 200% of the federal poverty level. Thirty-day income eligibility guidelines for LIHEAP for the 2021 program by size of household are as follows:

1 — $2,127

2 — $2,873

3 — $3,620

4 — $4,367

5 — $5,113

For each additional member add $747.

In order that no one is denied the opportunity to make an application any special accommodations that are needed can be arranged by contacting the local county CEFS Outreach Office. All our offices will accommodate applicants who require special arrangements for their appointments. These include applicants who are limited English proficient, homebound, hearing impaired, or are otherwise disabled. During program year 2021, application intake will continue through phone, internet and limited in-person contact due to COVID-19 restrictions. Again this year CEFS will continue to offer their LIHEAP pre-application online at www.cefseoc.org/LIHEAP-application.

Appointments can be made by contacting the CEFS Effingham County Outreach office at 1010 W. Jefferson St. Effingham, phone 217-347-7514. Note that our office has moved.

Energy assistance funding is provided through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO). CEFS Economic Opportunity Corporation is the local administering agency for Christian, Clay, Effingham, Fayette, Montgomery, Moultrie and Shelby counties.

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