Community Action Partnership of North Central Missouri offers the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help low-income households pay their utility bills.
Executive Director Chris Small calls LIHEAP one of Community Action’s “hallmark programs,” and describes it as “not a handout, but a hand up to help people with energy assistance needs and free up dollars which can be used in…home budgets someplace else.”
There are two types of LIHEAP: Emergency Assistance and Energy Crisis Intervention. EA is used one time toward the primary heating source, and checks are issued directly from the state. ECIP can be used more than once for a primary or secondary energy source only for shut-off or propane tankless than 20% full, and checks are issued from the Community Action Office.
Small acknowledges that the process of applying for assistance “can be daunting,” but Community Action can help walk households through the process. Families must fill out a new application for LIHEAP and turn in requested supporting documents every winter season, even if they received the service before or in January 2019.
Social security numbers must be submitted for every member of a household. Households must fall at or below 135% of the federal poverty income guidelines to qualify.
Heating sources must be listed on the application. Electricity must be listed as a family’s secondary heating source if it uses any other heating source.
When applying for LIHEAP, each household must submit a completed and signed LIHEAP application and a copy of primary and secondary heating bills or letters from companies stating the household is a customer. If no one or only some individuals in the home receive food stamps, a household must also submit copies of social security cards for every household member who does not receive food stamps and proof of income for every member older than 18 years old from the prior month.
LIHEAP applications will be processed in the order they are received and notes the Community Action Partnership of North Central Missouri works “really, really hard” to process applications as quickly as they can.
Community Action Partnership of North Central Missouri has 48 hours to process cases in which service has already been disconnected and 30 working days to process non-crisis cases.
Processing and issuing of payments for winter assistance begins November 1st for the elderly and disabled and December 1st for other households. No funds will be available for utility assistance prior to those dates.
Utility companies can choose to participate in the program with the state or opt-out. If a check comes from the state for a utility that does not participate, it goes directly to the client. It is then the client’s responsibility to pass on the check to the utility.
Households are also responsible for contacting utility companies to check for remaining balances that must be paid before or after a pledge can be made by Community Action. Energy Assistance funds cannot be used to pay utility deposits, water, sewer, trash, cable, internet, or phone bills. They can only be used for energy.
Families interested in applying for LIHEAP can leave a message with CAPNCM at 855-290-8544 extension 1064. Staff check messages throughout the day and return calls.
Applications can be submitted via email, at the CAPNCM website, postal mail to CAPNCM care of LIHEAP at 1506 Oklahoma Avenue in Trenton, Missouri 64683, in person at the office Monday through Thursday from 7:30 to 5 o’clock, or fax at 1-844-503-1872.