Low-income energy assistance extended

Legislation co-sponsored by State Representative Kevin Schmidt passed both chambers unanimously and now heads to the Governor’s desk. The bill, HB 4471 amends the Energy Assistance Act and removes the sunset on the Supplemental Low-Income Energy Assistance Fund, which was previously set for January 1, 2025.

The Supplemental Low-Income Energy Assistance Fund is responsible for providing payments to electric or gas utility companies, municipal utilities or to pay for necessary home weatherization services on behalf of those enrolled in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). LIHEAP is a program to assist eligible households with utility bills during the winter and summer months. Households with a total income at or below 200% of the federal poverty line were eligible to apply for LIHEAP benefits to cover those costs.

“While this program was expanded during the pandemic, the issue it seeks to solve goes beyond,” said Rep. Schmidt. “I am proud to co-sponsor legislation that helps Illinoisans in a time of need and provides some stability for Illinois families, as energy costs continue to soar.”

Over 311,000 households were helped by the LIHEAP funding that was available from September of 2022 through May of 2023. Currently, applications are open until August 2024 for existing LIHEAP recipients.

“Families are struggling with high inflation and soaring energy prices. Extending this program offers protection for Illinoisans making difficult decisions to pay for energy costs. I will continue to fight for protections to support struggling Illinois families,” concluded Rep. Schmidt.