LIHEAP / ECAP: Energy Crisis Assistance Program

The Energy Crisis Assistance Program (ECAP) makes payments only during open enrollment or a life-threatening energy crisis. The household must show that it is experiencing an energy crisis and meets program requirements.

The following chart summarizes the requirements for ECAP.

The Energy Crisis Assistance Program (ECAP) makes payments only during open enrollment or a life-threatening energy crisis. The household must show that it is experiencing an energy crisis and meets program requirements.

The following chart summarizes the requirements for ECAP.

Energy Crisis Program
Program Requirements Open-enrollment ECAP Life-threatening
Application Period The open enrollment usually begins in March and ends when funds run out. DHS accepts requests year-round when a household member needs energy to address a life-threatening energy crisis.
How to apply? A household member submits an online, telephone, email, or paper application. When a life-threatening energy crisis exists, the household provides verification and speaks to LIHEAP staff, but it does not need an application.
Required Verification The household must

  1. verify an energy crisis and
  2. 2. prove it meets program factors.
The household must verify

  1. a household member is experiencing a life-threatening emergency due to an household energy crisis and
  2. the household meets program factors.
Processing Time Limit 48 hours from the complete application Within 18 hours of the household providing all required verification
Payment Amount DHS may pay either a heating or cooling bill. The bill paid must resolve energy crisis.

DHS pays the minimum amount needed to resolve the crisis. We will not pay old debt that is being collected from a previous service address or utility account.

For a prepaid or cash advance utility account, DHS pays the household’s average usage for one month plus, if applicable, the reconnection fee.

 

DHS may pay the heating or cooling bill, but the bill paid must resolve the life-threatening energy crisis.

DHS pays the minimum amount needed to resolve the crisis. We will not pay old debt that is being collected from a previous service address or utility account.

For a prepaid or cash advance utility account, DHS pays the household’s average usage for one month plus, if applicable, the reconnection fee.

Maximum Benefit The amount DHS approves for ECAP each year cannot exceed the maximum benefit amount in the Appendix C-7-A. The year runs from October 1 to September 30. The current maximum is $750. A household may be approved more than once as long as the total amount approved each year is not more than the maximum amount.

When it takes more than the maximum benefit to alleviate the crisis, the household must explain how it will secure payment for the amount DHS is not paying. When the household cannot develop a feasible plan to prevent, cutoff or restore service, LIHEAP staff will deny the ECAP application. For Life-threatening, LIHEAP staff will attempt to contact the client over the phone to explain the ineligibility and the program requirements.

Energy Crisis

An energy crisis exists when the household’s energy provider

  • refuses to start or restore service without payment,
  • plans to cut off the household’s service within 72 hours unless the provider receives payment, or
  • declines to provide additional fuel without payment and the household’s fuel will run out in 72 hours.
  • enters into a payment plan with the household to prevent the service cut off.

Required Verification

The household documents an energy crisis with verification of these situations.

Examples include but are not limited to

  • a verified, active cutoff notice for a date within 72 hours,
  • verification of a fee for a new connection or to reconnect, or
  • verification of a supplier’s refusal to provide additional energy without payment and the household’s energy supply will run out in 72 hours
  • verification of entering a payment plan to prevent service cut-off.

What caused the crisis?

The household must explain what caused the energy crisis and why it cannot handle the energy crisis with its available income and resources. LIHEAP staff will evaluate the household’s explanation.

If a household resolves the energy crisis without an ECAP payment, an ECAP payment is unnecessary, and LIHEAP staff denies the application.

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