There are two main energy assistance programs in South Carolina: LIHEAP and weatherization. Low income families can get help with their finances and with conserving energy. The assistance provided by these federally-funded programs can help eligible low-income households in South Carolina meet their home cooling or heating needs. This assistance can come in the form of direct cash assistance for paying utility bills or free energy bill saving and efficiency updates to homes.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for the program and provides funds to all states, including South Carolina. The application information is given below. If you are struggling to pay your utility or air conditioning bills, contact your local community action agency. They may be able to help you with payment assistance. Non-profit centers distribute funding to people who need it and have low incomes.
Utility assistance from LIHEAP, including cooling, electric, and heating bills
The Low Income Energy Assistance Program can make a one-time payment directly to your utility company on your behalf. If you are elderly or have a disability, you will get funding before anyone else. To be eligible for aid, households must have at least one U.S. citizen, or in some cases, a non-citizen who meets certain criteria. There are also a few different income tests that applicants need to meet. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides eligible households with help in paying their heating and cooling bills. LIHEAP is available in South Carolina until funds are exhausted.
The applicant must have recent electric bills, proof of current income or payroll, and a copy of the disconnection notice from the energy company if that is the reason for the application. If an applicant meets the minimum income eligibility criteria, they will be given priority for any grants. This is often given to vulnerable households, which are usually those with the lowest incomes that spend a large amount of their household income on energy bills.
The program can help with payments, and also has a crisis service to help in tough times. If money is no object, the organization can foot the bill for air conditioning during the hotter months.
There are free cash grants available that can help pay for utility bills and home heating costs that the beneficiary is responsible for. The government program can provide either direct payment to your energy providers, or you can use the funds to pay part of your rent. This means that the amount of the grant will be subtracted from the total amount you owe the utility company. The government grants from LIHEAP will almost never be paid directly to the applicant.
The crisis component of the South Carolina Department of Mental Health operates during the winter or hot and humid summer months, as funding allows. This will only run until all the money the state has is gone. Emergency aid clients must meet income and other criteria, and be in a crisis situation involving imminent loss of heat or no longer have the ability to keep their home cool during the summer. Applicants must provide a notice that utilities will be disconnected. They should have a maximum of four days’ worth of fuel – either propane, fuel oil, kerosene, or wood. If you have been served an eviction notice for not paying rent, you may be eligible for crisis assistance. This assistance is available to those whose rent includes utility bills.
The summer cooling bill assistance program provides money to help households pay for air conditioning. The program is available to qualified households. It can help them by offering resources such as a free fan or air conditioner, or by providing them with a one-time cash payment. Households that have low incomes and are at risk for serious health problems may be provided with either new or gently used air conditioners. This is because excess heat can be associated with various medical conditions. During the summer, money paid out from LIHEAP will go to the household’s electric provider.
To be eligible for a free air conditioner, the applicant must not have any other means of cooling, such as their own fans or air conditioners. Other conditions that must be met in order to qualify for the benefit are: having a child in the household who is younger than six years old, someone in the home with a verified health condition or disability that requires cooling, or being a senior citizen.
Some things that can be paid for may include late fees, reconnect fees, utility bill assistance, and deposits for new residence and delivery fees. This equipment is for HVAC purchase, repair, or replacement, or for an air conditioner. If you need help paying for your energy bills, you can apply for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). To do so, contact a community action agency in your area.
Information on South Carolina Weatherization resources
There are also community action agencies across South Carolina that administer the weatherization assistance program. This government service can also help improve the quality of life for low-income families, particularly people with disabilities, the elderly, and children by improving the energy efficiency and conservation measures of their homes, even including rental or mobile homes. The U.S. Department of Energy is responsible for the federal level of this.
To get free energy savings, Weatherization is a program that is administered at the state level by the SC Office of Economic Opportunity. It helps low-income families save money on their utility and electric bills by making their homes more energy efficient. Additionally, this will lower someone’s dependence on LIHEAP cash grants. The funds are used to make improvements to the energy efficiency of homes. The updates may include adding insulation, making adjustments to the heating/cooling system, and installing CFL bulbs.