LIHEAP / ECAP: Life-Threatening Crisis FAQs

The ECAP annual threshold maximum is $750 per federal fiscal year (October 1 – September 30) that includes both regular ECAP and life-threatening. AKA – federal eligibility bucket.

Medical Necessity


The client states her child uses a nebulizer but the doctor’s statement she submitted only in information regarding an inhaler. The doctor’s office is closed. Can I take the client’s statement as best available verification?
No, we can only accept a statement from the health care professional. Life-threatening authorized personnel can accept verbal confirmation from a doctor’s office if it is verified and documented who they spoke to, the phone number they called, and the information they verified.
The client has a new born child and does not have any medical equipment that requires electricity to operate. Can they receive assistance for life-threatening?
Only if the new born child (up to 1 year old) has a chronic condition such as premature and the household meets the other program requirements. A statement from a health care professional is required.
Can life-threatening assist with hot water?
No, water is not an energy source for LIHEAP. If hot water is a necessity for a medical reason such as surgery, life-threatening can be authorized for main energy that heats the water if there is no alternative such as boiling water and the household meets the other program requirements. A statement from a health care professional is required.
A child with life-threatening medical condition is visiting his/her grandmother. Can the grandmother be eligible for life-threatening claim?
No, to be considered part of the household, the child must stay with the grandmother at least 2/3 of the month. The grandmother must also have custody of the child or child protective service’s referral will be made.
The client submitted a picture of solution used for a nebulizer. She states her child has been using the solution and nebulizer, his doctor will not provide verification since the child has not seen the doctor since January 2020. Can we use the client’s statement and picture of the solution as best available verification for life-threatening?
No. We do not know if the solution is safe. A child protective service’s referral will have to be made.
Client has COPD and the doctor has verified that she has portable oxygen tank. Client claimed he needs natural gas for his oxygen to operate. Is he eligible for life-threatening assistance?
No. Oxygen for home use cannot be produced from natural gas.

Energy Crisis


The household has been receiving help with shelter and utilities from an aunt. Are they eligible for life-threatening assistance?
It depends. If the household received help in the form of cash/check/money order, the average amount they have been receiving will be considered as contribution (unearned income). They will have to meet the income guidelines in addition to other program requirements. If the aunt pays directly to the provider; then they are not eligible for life-threatening.
The household is eligible for $296 in Summer Cooling will resolve the life-threatening medical crisis. Are they still eligible for life-threatening?
No, they are not eligible for life-threatening assistance.
Can life-threatening assist to pay off old debt to obtain new service?
Life-threatening assistance cannot be used to pay off old debt. Life-threatening can help with the minimum required security deposit for new service. Life-threatening can be used to pay utility old debt from a previous utility account when the client moved to a new location because of a domestic violence situation and provides proof of the domestic violence, such as a police report. Exceptions may also be granted when a client has to move due to mold, a copy of the mold report, completed by a professional mold inspector is required.
The household was certified for $365 in Summer Cooling. Her apartment was flooded and she had to move to another apartment. Is she eligible for life-threatening if she meets the medical eligibility factor?
Life-threatening authorized personnel will have to verify the utility provider to ensure all of her Summer Cooling credit has been applied. If there is any Summer Cooling credit left, it must be transferred to the account for her new apartment. In addition it must be verified with her landlord and documented in case notes, the flood and necessity to move apartments. Then if she meets the other program requirements, we could assist with the minimum requirement for her security deposit.
How much firewood can be authorized for life-threatening?
Just as with ECAP, we would authorize 1 rick of firewood up to the maximum of $125 if the household met the medical necessity requirement, the weather prediction for the area and other program requirements.
My client states he is about to run out of propane what is the guideline for life-threatening assistance?
The propane tank has to be below 25% for life-threatening assistance. The client can also use the refusal notice from the provider if it is available.

Program Factors


An elderly client states for son stole her money. Do we have to count her SSI as income for life-threatening assistance?
Yes, her SSI income has to be considered. An adult protective service’s referral will have to be made.
The household met the medical necessity requirement. He has a pre-paid utility account and service is still on. His utility provider requires a $40 minimum to be on the account. Can we authorize additional $40 for his pre-paid account?
No. Since his service is still on, we can only authorize the average monthly usage.
An elderly client provided verification that her oxygen tank is required to be plugged in to operate. She has a pre-paid utility account and her service has been off for 2 days. Her utility provider requires a minimum $65 to turn her service back on. Can she receive an additional amount on top of her monthly average usage?
Yes. Since her service has been off and the $65 is minimum requirement to turn the service back on.
A client has pre-paid utility account. His service is still on and his current balance is negative (-) $398.21 as verified with utility provider. His monthly average usage is $215. What amount would be authorized?
If he meets the other program requirements, we would authorize $398.21 if it still available in his fiscal eligibility bucket since it is the greater amount of the two.
A client met the medical necessity requirement. The predicted temperature at her residence is below 15 Fahrenheit for the next 7 days. Her propane indicator is below 42%. Is she eligible for life-threatening assistance?
No. For life-threatening, the propane tank has to be below 25% (while regular ECAP, the tank will have to be below 10%).
Can DHS staff send pledges to utility providers for life-threatening assistance?
No, life- threatening authorized personnel review the case file and will send a life-threatening pledge to provider, if needed. Clients must be advised that not all utility providers will note the pledge on cash-only/cash-advance/pre-paid utility account.

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