LIHEAP / ECAP: LIHEAP / ECAP Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

The following are UPDATED Q/A’s regarding the LIHEAP/ECAP Programs. Frequently asked questions are divided into various topics and subtopics which can be accessed by clicking on the main topics.

Application Process
Policy: 340:20-1-13

ADM-92

Do I need to send an ADM-92 to request LIHEAP verification for my client?

No. You need to ensure accurate information regarding the client is captured such as household members (1 chimney/1 utility meter rule), utility vendor and account number. If additional information is required Energy Assistance Contact Center staff will send an ADM-92.


Case Status

How do AFS Field staff check the status for pending energy assistance applications?

You can utilize:

    • OnBase to check for a energy assistance application, the document type will show as 830 AFS Application/Renewal.
    • Case notes in FACS for any pending verification or for additional information.
    • OnBase for an ADM-92 request for additional verification.
    • IMS Mainframe the:
      • 105HQ (heating),
      • 105EQ (ECAP/life-threatening),
      • 105CQ (cooling),
      • NL and NI screens to check on pending authorization.

You can use any of these screens to assist your client regarding the status of their energy assistance application. EA program staff are limited to the same screens and information you can access. Emailing liheap2 email box about the status of the client case will not provide additional information.

Policy: 340:20-1-12


No Account Number

My client states the propane vendor does not give them an account number. What do they put on the OKDHSLive application?

If the primary utility source does not have an account number, such as propane, input the client’s first name, last name for the account number. Example: John, Smith. Do NOT input incorrect numbers for the utility account number such as:

    • social security number
    • zip code
    • 123456
    • 1111111
    • 00000, etc.

Error

When you discover an error, after you assist client with a proxy or the client reports an error after they submitted and application, how do I get the correct information to the assigned LIHEAP staff?

Document the error and the correct information in FACS case notes. If payment has been issued submit a refund request. If payment has not been issued, notify LIHEAP2 email box of the error, so the information can be sent to the centralized processing staff.

Policy: 340:20-1-14


Proxy

Can ANY Field staff assist my client with LIHEAP/ECAP online application proxy?

Yes. Anyone including Adults and Family Services staff can assist the client with LIHEAP/ECAP proxy application. During our open enrollment period applications can be completed online at www.okdhslive.org.

Policy: 340:20-1-12

I am really busy. Can AFS Field staff defer the client to call Energy Assistance Contact Center (EACC) instead of assisting them with an application proxy? 

To adhere to First Contact Resolution , AFS staff are able to check status and/or proxy the Energy Assistance applications and should do so when the task arises among their day-to-day responsibilities. All AFS staff are thoroughly knowledgeable of the proxy process and can easily complete it with the client. If a client has been waiting in a line or on hold to be able to speak to an employee, we want to be able to add the LIHEAP request to any other program requests to avoid duplication at a later time or by another employee.

How do AFS Field staff proxy a LIHEAP/ECAP application during open enrollment? 

You need to use www.okdhslive.org to proxy an application during open enrollment. For step by step instructions refer to article LIHEAP/ECAP: How to Apply for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

Policy: 340:20-1-12


Random Moment Time Study

If I receive a Random Moment Time Study (RMTS) while assisting a client with LIHEAP/ECAP, how should I respond?

When serving as a proxy for energy assistance and another benefit, record the action taken on the other benefit for Random Moment Time Study (RMTS). When serving as a proxy for an energy assistance only application, record general case information for RMTS.

OKDHS:2-11-61


Benefits

Firewood

How much firewood can an eligible client receive?

For winter heating the household is eligible for the amount listed on the Appendix C-7-A based on household size and income. ECAP pays for one rick of fire.

Policy:


Household Benefit Payment

How much will the Energy Assistance pay if the client is eligible?

Policy:

Winter/Summer

On winter/summer assistance, the benefit payment amount depends on the household’s size, type of fuel, and income. Please refer to the latest Appendix-C-7-A for additional information. Energy Assistance payments are made for utility expenses, deposits, and reconnect charges applicable to the household’s main source of home energy.

Policy:

ECAP

The ECAP annual threshold maximum is $750 per federal fiscal year (October 1 – September 30) which includes both regular ECAP and life-threatening. ECAP will pay the minimum amount to resolve the energy crisis for at least one month.

Policy: 340:20-1-17(g)(1)

ECAP – Service Off

When the utility service is off, ECAP pays the minimum amount to restore service for one month plus the reconnection fee.

Policy: 340:20-1-17 (g)(1)

ECAP-LT

When ECAP is approved for a life-threatening emergency, ECAP also pays any additional negative arrearage to mitigate the household’s medical crisis. For additional information, view article LIHEAP/ECAP: Prepaid Utility Accounts & LIHEAP.

Policy: 340:20-1-17 ITS (6)(6)


Refillable Fuel – Propane

How much refillable fuel can eligible clients receive?

The fuel type must be the household’s main energy source depending on the seasonal program. Winter Heating and Summer Cooling will pay the benefit listed on the Appendix C-7-A. The ECAP program pays for 100 gallons for any type of refillable fuel.

Policy: 340:20-1-10.


Alternative Fuel – ECAP

Eligible households that indicate they are about to run out of fuel and use alternative fuel such as propane canister, gas for a generator, or firewood can receive the minimum amount required to resolve the crisis for one month up to the maximum benefit.

Policy: 340:20-1-17 ITS (6)(6)

Rick of Firewood/100 gallons of Refillable Fuel EA staff:

    1. Verbally notify the household they need to provide written verification from the supplier regarding the fuel cost.
    2. If the household cannot provide written verification of the fuel cost, request the supplier’s name and telephone number. Call the supplier to gather verbal verification regarding the cost of fuel.
    3. If written and verbal attempts to verify the fuel cost fail:
      1. Case note the attempts, and
      2. Use the client’s statement as best available if it is reasonable.

The LT/ECAP authorized benefit cannot include the cost delivery. The household must work out a payment plan for delivery fees with the supplier.

Policy: 340:20-1-17 (g)(3)

EA staff cannot deny or hold up an application solely to verify the costs of firewood/refillable fuel.


Transfer Benefits

Can the client transfer her LIHEAP benefit to her friend who just moved in after my client vacated her residence?

No. The client’s benefit will follow her to the new residence if she has any remaining credit. In the event she is not responsible for utilities at her new residence, the utility provider must issue the credit in form of a refund back to OKDHS so we can reallocate the funds to assist other eligible households.

Policy: 340:20-1-14


Eligibility

Change

My client reported a change of household circumstance that would affect her pending energy assistance Who do I AFS Field staff need to notify?

If it is verification only, upload the documents to the case file, no further action is needed. If the client is on the phone, transfer them to the Energy Assistance queue or advise them to call (405) 522-5050 and select the energy assistance options to report the information.

Policy: 340:20-1-14(2)


ECAP Crisis Definition

What is the definition of crisis for the ECAP program?

An energy crisis exists when the energy provider:

    • Refuses to start, continue or restore service without payment; or
    • Plans to cut off the household’s service unless the provider receives payment; or
    • Declines to provide additional fuel without payment and the household’s fuel tank is at or below 10% for ECAP and at or below 25% for life threatening
    • verifies a cash only, cash advance, or pre-paid account has less than a $25 minimum balance in the account or
    • Is an alternative fuel source (i.e. Wood, Corn Pellets, Kerosene, etc.) and the applicant indicates they are about to run out. (Must be reviewed and signed off by a supervisor/authorized personnel); or
    • Requires a new connection or reconnection fee and the minimum security deposit; or
    • Enters into a payment plan with the household to prevent the service cut off.

Policy: 340:20-1-17


Determine Eligibility

How do AFS field staff determine if client is eligible for energy assistance?

AFS field staff do not determine client’s eligibility for the Energy Assistance program. The EA staff complete eligibility determination. To adhere to First Contact Resolution, AFS staff can check status and/or proxy the Energy Assistance applications and should do so when the task arises among their day-to day responsibilities. You can assist the client with an application proxy during open enrollment and any questions they may have regarding the application or process. Refer to article LIHEAP Responsibilities for additional information.

Policy: 340:20-1-12.


Household

The client is babysitting her granddaughter during the day while the parents are at work/school, may she include the granddaughter as a part of her LIHEAP household?

No. The granddaughter is considered a visitor and cannot be added to the LIHEAP household.

Policy: 340:20-1-10

The client’s mother was released from the hospital recently and moved into her house so she can assist her. Can her mother be considered a part of the LIHEAP household?

Yes. In this instance, the client’s mother is a member of her LIHEAP household. Therefore, her income and resource are also considered for the household LIHEAP eligibility.

The client’s daughter is an RN and she usually work 4 days on and 3 days off. She resides there part-time. She has a primary residence in another city. Should she be included in my client’s LIHEAP household?

No. The daughter and the mother are separate economic units and can be considered as different household for energy assistance. Each residence must have a separate energy service.

My client’s son lives 2 hours away from the city. He works in the city so he stays with my client during the week goes home on the weekend. Is he a visitor?

No. The client’s son must be included as a part of her LIHEAP household. His income and resource are also counted for the household LIHEAP eligibility.


LIHEAP & ECAP

Can the client receive both LIHEAP and ECAP payment assistance?

Yes. Households could be eligible for all three Energy Assistance program components. Households can receive benefits from ECAP, winter, and summer programs.

Policy: 340:20-1-14


Long-Term Care

The client resides in a long-term care or community housing facility. Can he/she be eligible for LIHEAP assistance?

No. The Energy Assistance program may not provide assistance to this type of housing facilities and payment may not be made on a corporation’s utility account.

Policy: 340:20-1-10


Refrigerators

Does energy assistance help with the cost of refrigerators?

No. LIHEAP does not pay for refrigerators or any other household appliances.

Policy: 340:20-1-10(a)


Tribal LIHEAP

Can the client receive Tribal LIHEAP assistance and assistance with OKDHS LIHEAP?

No. The household with one or more tribal member(s) may choose to receive Energy assistance through the tribe or OKDHS per program component. If it is determined that the client has received the energy assistance through the tribe and OKDHS this fiscal year and the same program component’ AFS Field staff transfer the client to the energy assistance queue. EA staff submit a refund request using the Refund Request App.

Policy: 340:20-1-4(a)(2)


Window AC Unit

Can the client receive reimbursement for a window A/C unit?

Yes, during summer cooling open enrollment the Energy Assistance program can issue reimbursements up to $150 for purchase of a window A/C unit. Households will have to submit a dated receipt for the purchase/repair within 30 days of summer cooling application. For more information refer to article LIHEAP/ECAP: Winter Heating / Summer Cooling.

Policy: 340:20-1-20


Payments

Policy:

No Account Number

The client states the propane vendor does not give them an account number, what do they put on the application?

If the primary utility source does not have an account number, such as propane, input the client’s first name, last name for the account number. Example: John, Smith. Do NOT input incorrect numbers for the utility account number such as:

    • Social security number
    • Zip code
    • 123456
    • 1111111
    • 00000, etc.

ONG – last two digits

The last two digits of the client’s ONG account number was left off energy assistance authorization, what should they do?

Utility suppliers have an unique format for their customer account numbers. The Energy Assistance (EA) staff enters the numbers for certification to the correct format. Some frequently used examples include:

    • American Electric Power/Public Service Company of Oklahoma (AEP/PSO) – The number must be entered as it is on the bill including dashes. i.e.: XXX-XXX-XXX-X-X
    • Arkansas-Oklahoma Gas (AOG) – The account number must have 11 numeric digits. The first digit cannot exceed 1 through 4. Positions 2 through 11 cannot be blank.
    • CenterPoint/Arkla – the account number must be entered exactly as it appears on the bill including dashes
    • Comanche, City of – the account number account format is six digits, (the first two will always be the same number) then a. with two digits at the end, ex:112345.67. They service only customers that have a Comanche address, the service zip is 73529.
    • Haskell, Town of  – account format is 12-3456-78. The Town of Haskell does not service customers outside of Haskell (zip code 74436)
    • Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (OEC) – The account number must be entered as it appears on the bill, including the dash
    • Oklahoma Gas & Electric (OG&E) – The account number must be entered as it appears on the bill, including the dash.
    • Oklahoma Natural Gas (ONG) – The account number must be entered 16 numeric digits no spaces. (Leave off the last 2 numbers)

If the first 16 digits of the clients ONG account are correct, no action is needed, as this is the correct process per ONG format. If the first 16 digits are not correct, a refund will need to be requested in this case.

AFS Field staff transfer the client to the Energy Assistant queue or advise them to call 405-522-5050 and select energy assistance options to request a refund.

If the payment has not issued correct the account number. EA staff submit a refund request if needed using the Refund Request App.

Policy: 340:20-1-20(5).


Landlord Name

The client stated her utility account is under the landlord’s name as she lives in a multiple unit complex. She states she is responsible to pay a portion of the utility bill each month. What should I tell my client?

The Energy Assistance program can only make payments on a residential utility account. Federal regulations prohibit issuance of payments to corporate utility accounts. If the client was preauthorized, the benefit will be closed, and the client will have to apply during general open enrollment. If eligible, the payment will have to be processed as direct payment to the client.

Policy: 340:20-1-10(a)


Two Utility Accounts

The client has two different utility accounts: one for her residence and one for her self-employment. Which one can LIHEAP use for the payment?

If eligible, energy assistance can only issue benefits on her residential utility account. Federal regulations prohibit issuance of payments to a business account.

Policy: 340:20-1-10(a)


New Service

The client doesn’t have a utility account number because she is trying to establish new service. What should EA staff do?

EA staff can verify with the utility provider to request an analysis for minimum required amount for the security deposit, account number to be assigned, and any associate fees that might be incurred. If the provider is a propane company, the account number might be the client’s first name/last name.

Policy: 340:20-1-20(5)


Days

How many days will the ECAP program pay for eligible households?

ECAP benefits must resolve the crisis for one month. There is still the maximum benefit of $750 per federal fiscal year for ECAP and Life Threatening.

Policy: 340:20-1-17


Debit Card

The client’s energy assistance was paid directly to him but he did not receive the Oklahoma Master Debit Card. What should I do?

You can open a Remedy ticket for AFS Helpdesk to resolve any card issue. Clients may have previously received a card or enrolled in direct deposit for other DHS benefits. The AFS Helpdesk agent may provide assistance. For more information, refer to article LIHEAP/ECAP: LIHEAP Non-Participant Vendor – Direct Payment to the Client.

Policy: 340:20-1-14


Incorrect Payments

If the energy assistance payment is incorrect, how do AFS Field staff I report it?

It’s critical to triple check utility information with the client when you assist with a proxy application.

When an energy assistance benefit is issued to the incorrect utility vendor, or account number it can create considerable delays in receiving energy assistance. If mistake is found and a refund is needed, AFS Field staff, transfer the client to the energy assistance queue or let them know to call 405-522-5050, select the Energy Assistance options.

EA staff will use the Refund Request App to submit a refund request. Notify the client that the refund process is a lengthy, time-consuming process and to prevent cut-off they will need to contact the utility supplier. If there is a need for refund, EA program-staff will initiate the refund request from the utility supplier.

Funds will only be reissued if reported within 30 days from the date on the notice of payment. If it is past 30 days, the refund will be requested and will not be reissued.

Policy: 340:20-1-14


Payments to Providers

How often are the LIHEAP/ECAP payments made to the utility providers?

The energy assistance payment is paid once per week through a bank ACH transaction to participating utility supplier’s registered bank account with State Treasury Office.  All non-participant providers, payment is made once per week directly to the client.

Policy: 340:20-1-14


Pledges

Does OKDHS send pledges to utility providers?

The EA staff does not send Winter Heating or Summer Cooling pledges to participating suppliers.

Only during ECAP open enrollment period are pledges sent to participating suppliers that have no File Transfer Protocol (FTP) set up. The FTP suppliers receive a nightly authorization batch file through a data exchange drop-box.

The EA staff sends Life-Threatening pledges by email to participating suppliers The clients must be advised that not all utility suppliers will note the pledge on cash-only /cash-advance/pre-paid utility account.

Policy: 340:20-1-17

Can AFS field staff send pledges to utility providers for life-threatening assistance?

No, EA staff review the case file and will send a life-threatening pledge to the 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.

Policy: 340:20-1-17(8)(2)


Primary Source

Can EA staff certify the household’s main heating source during summer months and vice versa?

No. Eligible households can only receive assistance for the main energy source according to each program component. For example: household may not receive firewood as fuel type for summer cooling since it is not a main cooling energy source.

Policy: 340:20-1-10


Refund

Can the Energy Assistance program reissue the payment out to correct utility supplier while waiting for the refund?

No. The Energy Assistance program must wait until the refund is received, so it can be processed and reissued to the correct utility provider. Notify the client that the refund process is a lengthy, time consuming process and they will need to make arrangements with the utility provider. For more information, refer to article LIHEAP Refund Request.

Policy: 340:20-1-10


Transfer

My client’s energy assistance benefit was paid and he moved. Can the payment be transferred to his new residence?

Yes. If the benefit has been paid out and he has any credit remaining from his previous utility servicing address, it can be applied toward the new residence. Please submit a refund request using the refund power app.

AFS Field staff, transfer the client to the energy assistance queue or refer them to the customer service line 405-522-5050 to select Energy Assistance option.

Policy: 340:20-1-10


Pre-Authorization

Copy of the Bill

Does the client have to send in a copy of the utility bill to correct a preauthorization?

No, the Energy Assistance program just needs the correct account number, provider name and account name within the 10 calendar days of the preauthorization notice.

To report a preauthorization error AFS field staff transfer the client to the energy assistance queue or provide the customer service line and advise the client to select the Energy Assistant option.

EA staff submit a preauthorization correction that have been reported timely using the Pre-Auth Corrections App.

EA program staff will process the timely requests for a preauthorization correction. Refer to preauthorization correction article for additional information.

Policy: 340:20-1-14 (1)(B)


Criteria

How will AFS Field /EA staff know if the client was preauthorized? 

The EA program preauthorizes winter heating or summer cooling households who meet certain criteria, which can change based on federal guidance. These households’ receive a payment without needing to apply. There will be a notice on the NL screen and the authorization will show on the 105HQ or 105CQ screen.

Policy: 340:20-1-14 (1)


Firewood

The client wants to update the preauthorization to change it from electric to firewood what do AFS Field /EA staff need to do?

Federal regulation will not allow a pre-approval for firewood. To receive benefits for firewood the client will have to apply during open enrollment. The pre-authorization will be closed.

To report a preauthorization error AFS field staff transfer the client to the energy assistance queue or let them know to call 405-522-5050 and select the Energy Assistance options to request a preauthorization correction.

EA staff submit a preauthorization correction that have been reported timely using the Pre-Auth Corrections App.

EA program staff will process the timely requests for a preauthorization correction.

See preauthorization correction for more information.

Policy: 340:20-1-14.(1)(C)(i)


Incorrect

My client reported their account information is not correct on the preauthorization how do AFS Field /EA staff change it?

To report a preauthorization error AFS field staff transfer the client to the energy assistance queue or let them know to call 405-522-5050 and select the Energy Assistance options to request a preauthorization correction.

Policy: 340:20-1-14.(1)(B)(ii)

EA staff submit a preauthorization correction that have been reported timely using the Pre-Auth Corrections App.

EA program staff will process the timely requests for a preauthorization correction.

Pre-authorizations may not be corrected once open enrollment begins; the client will have to apply during open enrollment. This includes preauthorized households that are closed (action code 6) with a reason code 09 (State Office use only), or 10 (Supplier cannot identify).

Policy: 340:20-1-14.(1)(B)(ii)

The pre-authorization for a household closed on a reason 10 (Supplier cannot identify) will need to apply during open enrollment for eligibility to be determined.


Number of Times

The client was pre-authorized for Summer Cooling. Does that mean she will automatically be preauthorized for Winter Heating?

No, the household may only be preauthorized for one component each federal fiscal year. For example, if the household is preauthorized for summer cooling, the household must submit an application and eligibility be determined for winter heating and vice versa.

Policy: 340:20-1-12 (1)


Payment of my Preauthorization

The client states they received a preauthorization notice. When will they receive the payment on the account?

The preauthorization payments will be issued to the utility vendors the week following open enrollment. Check the PD Date on the 105HQ or 105CQ screen.

Policy: 340:20-1-14 (6)(D)


Supplier Cannot Identify

My client called inquiring about the notice she received indicating her LIHEAP case was closed and she would not receive assistance, the reason given was “supplier cannot identify”. What does this mean?

It means the utility vendor verified that her account is not active and she will have to apply during open enrollment. The preauthorization must be issued to an active account. The household will need to apply and provide updated account information during open enrollment.

Policy: 340:20-1-14 ITS (1)(2)


Programs

What are the Energy Assistance program components?

 

ECAP/LT

The Energy Crisis Assistance Program (ECAP) provides assistance for households with a verifiable energy crisis including the loss of heating or cooling. Open enrollment for the program usually begins each year in mid-March. Energy crisis assistance for households with a life-threatening medical situation is accepted year-round.

Summer Cooling

The non-emergency summer cooling program provides assistance with a one-time payment per fiscal year to the energy company providing the main source of cooling for the household. Open enrollment usually begins each year in June.

Winter Heating

The non-emergency winter heating program provides assistance with a one-time payment per fiscal year to the energy company providing the main source of heating for the household. Open enrollment usually begins each year in December.

Policy: 340:20-1-3

Utility Accounts


Corporate Accounts

My client stated her utility account is under the name of the apartment complex. What should I tell my client?

The LIHEAP can only make payment on a residential utility account. The LIHEAP is prohibited by federal regulation to issue payments to corporate utility account. If your client was preauthorized, the account will be closed and the client will have to apply during general open enrollment. If eligible, the payment would have to be processed as direct payment to the client.

My client stated her utility account is under the landlord’s name as she lives in a multiple unit complex. She states she is responsible to pay a portion of the utility bill each month. What should tell my client?

The LIHEAP may only make payment on a residential utility account. The LIHEAP is prohibited by federal regulation to issue payments to corporate utility account. If your client was preauthorized, the account will be closed and the client will have to apply during general open enrollment. If eligible, the payment would have to be processed as direct paid to the client.


Multiple Accounts

My client maintains two different utility accounts: one for her residential and one for her self-employment. Which one can LIHEAP provide assistance?

The LIHEAP can only make payment on her primary residential utility account. Federal laws prohibited LIHEAP payments to a business account.


New Account

My client doesn’t have a utility account number because she is trying to establish new service. What should I do?

Please have the client contact her utility provider to establish new service and request an analysis for minimum required amount for the security deposit, account number to be assigned, and any associate fees that might be incurred. If the provider is a propane company, the account number might be the client’s first name/last name. Please document in the “explanation” box according to the fuel type on the application.


Other Services

Does energy assistance pay for any other utility services?

No. Most utility providers have other utility services such as trash, water, sewer, recycling, etc. included in the customer’s monthly utility bill. Federal law only allows payment to be paid toward the eligible household’s heating/cooling energy source. The client is responsible to pay for other service charges.

Policy: 340:20-1-17(g)(4)


Propane

How do I know if my client is almost out of propane for ECAP/Life-threatening? 

For propane, the tank’s indicator has to be below 10% for regular ECAP and 25% for life-threatening. The client can also use the refusal notice from the provider if it is available. Please document in the “explanation” box according to the fuel type on the application.


Verification

Notices

My client lost his notice. How do I access notices?

You can check the NL (case #) for notice list in IMS-Mainframe and enter NI next to the notice you want to access, to provide a copy to the client. Refer to article LIHEAP/ECAP: Notices.


Where to Send

Where does my client send their verification?
The documents can be:

  • uploaded to their case file at okdhslive.org and click on Fast Pass Verification Upload button so it can be indexed to the case record. or
  • Send the documents to the local Field office. Staff will upload the document to your case record. or
  • fax to (405) 669-4102 include the DHS case number and name.

Verification

Do AFS Field staff need to send an ADM-92 to request energy assistance verification for the client?

No. When assisting with an application proxy, ensure accurate information regarding the client is captured such as household members, utility supplier, and account number. If additional information is required, EA staff will send an ADM-92. Verification, 340:20-1-12. ITS 1(b) Applications.

Policy: 340:20-1-13.


 

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