340:20-1-14(6) Actions, method of payment, and notifications
340:20-1-17(g) Energy Crisis Assistance Program (ECAP)
340:65-3-6 Cash assistance payment procedures
It is always our preference to pay utility providers directly. However, there are some circumstances requiring a direct payment to the household instead of a utility company. In accordance with state law, DHS is no longer making payments via paper warrant/check. Eligible LIHEAP households whose utility providers do NOT participate in direct deposit will receive payment directly in the form of an Oklahoma Master Debit Card or by direct deposit if the individual has previously opted in when he/she receives other DHS payments such as State Supplemental Payment (SSP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
All direct payments must be reviewed and signed off by an authorized personnel.
Direct LIHEAP benefits are a one-time payment and must be used to pay for the main heating and/or cooling energy bill and cannot be used for anything else. All direct payments are issued on a weekly basis. If any amount of direct LIHEAP payment was used for anything but the intended energy bill, the beneficiary will be held accountable for any misused payment and could possibly incur a penalty for any future eligible LIHEAP payments.
If the eligible applicants have never been issued an Oklahoma Debit MasterCard, one will be generated and mailed to them. If the new card is not activated within 90 calendar days, the benefit will be withdrawn from the card and replacing the benefit will require technical assistance from the help desk.
The cards are good for 3 years and will stay good until the expiration date as long as the applicant activated it. Cards are not re-issued unless the applicant doesn’t have it or the card is compromised. The card must be pinned before the money can be loaded (this process might take up to 72 hours excluding the weekend or holidays). The household can only request ONE replacement card per year for free. If the card needs to be replaced more than once per year, there may be a charge.
The LIHEAP household whose utility provider is a non-participating provider will be held to the same 72 hour cutoff ECAP standard if they have previously received direct liheap payment, received Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or State Supplemental Payment cash assistance. As they should already have an Oklahoma MasterCard debit card and would receive benefits within the same time frame as households that have a participating utility provider.
For ALL payment issues related to debit cards, please contact the AFS Help desk by opening a remedy ticket. Clients that didn’t receive the payment should be directed to call Conduent’s Customer Service at 888-929-2460 regarding card replacement or activation, etc.
340:20-1-14. Actions, method of payment and notifications
340:20-1-3. Program operation, components, and priorities
The LIHEAP funding is contingent on the receipt of federal funds and authorized amounts vary from year-to-year. The allocated funding is estimated and reserved for winter heating, summer cooling, and ECAP on a yearly basis. DHS Appendix C-7-A provides estimated benefit amounts for each program. Adjustments may be made to the estimated benefit during the fiscal year due to changes in available funding or anticipated need.
The household benefit is based upon the household’s size, income, and primary energy source. The LIHEAP payment can only be applied to main heating/cooling energy portion of the bill if it includes other utility services such as sewer, water, recycling, and trash.
DHS authorized LIHEAP payments are processed weekly through automatic clearing house (ACH) banking transfer to the participating energy provider’s registered bank accounts by the Oklahoma State Treasury Office.
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