WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tina Smith (D-MN) announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded more than $3.3 billion in relief funds to help low-income individuals and families afford heating costs and cover unpaid utility bills this winter. This action follows calls from Klobuchar, Smith, and a bipartisan group of 34 of their colleagues last month to release funds for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

“As we head into winter in Minnesota, this federal funding is going to make a real difference for people who are struggling to make ends meet,” said Klobuchar. “I’m glad the Biden administration is taking action to provide this much-needed assistance, and I’ll keep working to ensure Minnesotans have the support they need to stay safe.”

“With winter coming and cold weather on the way, we know that heating bills can become unaffordable for thousands of Minnesota families,” said Smith. “This federal investment to help low-income families in Minnesota across the country will be a lifeline and help many households keep the heat on.”

Nationwide, an estimated 5.3 million households received assistance with heating and cooling costs through LIHEAP in 2020. The average cost of home heating is unaffordable for millions of low-income households, costing over $900 per year nationally. 

LIHEAP is a federally funded program that helps low-income households with their home energy bills by providing payment and/or energy crisis assistance to pay for gas, electric, and other methods customers use to heat their homes. LIHEAP is administered by states and accessed through local Community Action Agencies. Eligibility for LIHEAP is based on income, family size, and the availability of resources.

Senior citizens and those receiving Social Security Disability or SSI benefits are encouraged to apply as early as possible, but applications will be open to everyone through spring of 2022 or until the funding is exhausted.

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