What Is an Energy Assistance Program?

An energy assistance program is one funded by the federal government that assists eligible people to meet their energy needs. It generally focuses on low-income individuals who pay a high percentage of their income toward their home's energy.

The federally run program, The Home Energy Assistance Program, is overseen by each individual state, so specific requirements for eligibility vary by state. Some states also provide money for qualifying individuals to weatherize their homes.

Households generally qualify for home energy assistance programs based on established income guidelines and other criteria. The federal statute sets 150 percent of the federal poverty level as the maximum level to qualify and 110 percent as the minimum.The statute also requires local administrators of the program to be flexible to help households who have at least one member receiving aid under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, SNAP food stamps or Supplemental Security Income. Households can be determined eligible if they pass certain asset tests or have received a disconnection notice. This program can help households stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter through programs that help to reduce the risk of safety and health issues that come about from unsafe cooling and heating practice.