HEAP: Winter Utility Assistance

The Governor's office has approved the release of TANF funds to assist low-income consumers with their heating bills this winter. Eligibility for HEAP and E-HEAP have been increased to 175% of the poverty guidelines. Also, consumers are no longer required to sign-up for the PIPP progam. These changes allow consumers on fixed incomes and the working poor to be eligible for the first time for utility bill assistance.

Heat or Eat (Pdf)       Energy Safety Net Bulletin #99 (Word Document)

To hear the Public Service Announcement please click on this link.

HEAP 2006/2007 Application (english version)    Applicacion Combinada para Los Programas de Asistencia para Energia

Frequently Asked Questions - Provided by the Ohio Department of Development, Office of Community Services

Questions and Answers



A federally funded program designed to help eligible Ohioans meet the rising cost of home heating this winter.



A household whose total income is at or below 175% of the 2005 - 2006 federal poverty guidelines may be eligible.

Guidelines are listed below:

Size of Household

1 person ........................................up to $17,150.50
2 persons ......................................up to $23,100.50
3 persons ......................................up to $29,050.50
4 persons ......................................up to $35,000.50
5 persons ......................................up to $40,950.50
6 persons ......................................up to $46,900.50
7 persons ......................................up to $52,850.50
8 persons ......................................up to $58,800.50

For households with more than eight members, add $5,950 for each individual member.

TANF Household Requirements for HEAP

Household Composition


In order to be eligible for TANF-funded HEAP benefit, the household must contain:

a minor child* living with a parent, legal guardian, legal custodian, or specified relative**; or

a pregnant woman; or

a non-custodial parent of a minor child, i.e. the parent lives in the household requesting assistance, but the child lives elsewhere.

(NOTE: Foster children DO NOT fulfill the above requirement.)




TANF funds may not be used for benefits or an individual who is not a citizen of the United Stated or a qualified alien.


Appeals - The joint ODOR/ODJFS appeals process must be posted and used.


TANF Definitions


"Minor child" means either of the following

  • An individual who has not attained age eighteen (18): or,

  • An individual who has not attained age nineteen (19) AND is a full-time student in a secondary school (high school) or enrolled in a high school level of vocational or technical training.

"Specified relative" means the following individuals who are 18 or older:


The following individuals related by blood or adoption:

  • Grandparents, including "great", great-great", or "great­great-great" prefixes;

  • Siblings;

  • Aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, including "great", great-great", grand", or "great­grand" prefixes;

  • First cousins and first cousins once removed.

  • Stepparents and stepsiblings;

  • Spouses and former spouses of relatives named above.

Emergency Assistance Guide 2005 - 2006 pdf.





  1. What is the difference between LIHEAP and TANF/HEAP program?

NONE! There is only one program funded by two pots of money allowing Office of Community Services to make energy assistance benefits available to more low-income Ohioans.

  1. Does an intake worker have to set the client up on a Payment Plan (i.e. 1/3, 1/6, or Budget) with the Utility if their income is between 150% and 175% of poverty?

The Client must sign up for a payment plan if their account balance exceeds $175. Due to the high caseloads at the agencies, the worker can have applicants who exceed 150% of poverty make the payment plan arrangements. The applicant must sign the Payment Plan Acknowledgement Form confirming that the arrangements will be made. However if time permits, please also assist these applicants to make payment plan arrangements.

  1. What if my software vendor doesn't make the necessary changes?

You will have to fax the TANF/HEAP certification form for every TANF-eligible applicant who applies for the program. You will have to Fax the form to Benita Davis at 614-387-2720. You can also create a spreadsheet and email the information to Benita at: [email protected]. You also have the option of changing software vendors, please contact your field representative if you have questions or would like to change vendors.

  1. Why do we have to fill out the TANF/HEAP Certification form?

To determine whether the client is TANF eligible so the Office of Community Services knows which pot of money to take the clients benefit from. It is our job to reach as many eligible applicants as possible, so we must document all TANF clients.

  1. What does it mean by a non-custodial parent?

The parent lives in the household requesting assistance, but the child lives elsewhere.

  1. What do you do with the TANF/HEAP Certification form after the client completes it?

You will keep the TANF/HEAP Certification form with the client file. Your field representative will look for this form on their next monitoring visit.

  1. Can we work overtime to see the high volume of applicants?

Yes, you may work overtime as long as your By-Laws, union contracts, and agency procedures allow you to do so.

  1. Does the increase in Bulk Fuel Benefit amount also apply to Coal/Wood?

No, Coal/Wood will remain $250. Coal/Wood applicants will receive a weighted Regular HEAP benefit to insure the applicant can get an ample supply of Coal or Wood.

  1. Can we purchase more equiptment and space to handle the high volume of clients we will be seeing this winter?

Yes, you may submit a budget amendment for any operating costs; it is up to you to determine what you need for the upcoming season. Please make sure you mark you budget justification with ‘TANF’.

  1. If an applicant has TANF income do we still have to fill out the TANF Certification Form?

No, you don’t, because TANF income qualifies the applicant as TANF eligible.

  1. If an applicant is below 150% of poverty can they qualify for TANF?

YES! All applicants under 175% of poverty can qualify as TANF eligible and all applicants under 175% of poverty must be assessed for TANF eligibility.

  1. Since bulk fuels have been increased to $450 can we still split the payment with the electric company?

YES! The bulk fuel payment can be split to keep both services on.

  1. If an applicant is approved for HEAP and is TANF eligible can they still get a PRC benefit?

YES! The client may still get a PRC benefit as long as they qualify for PRC.

  1. If the customer goes on the 1/3 paymnet plan, can they later switch to the 1/6 plan?

Yes, The 1/3 plan is offered only during winter heating season, November 1 through April 15th. On the 1/3 plan the customer pays only 1/3 of the balance. This is helpful in dealing with the high utility bills in the dead of winter. On the 1/6 plan the customer pays the current bill plus 1/6 of the outstanding balance. This payment plan is most helpful after the high usage months. The 1/6 plan enables the customer to clear their outstanding balance once utility bills start coming down due to decreased consumption.

  1. Does receiving Food Stamps automatically make you TANF eligible?

No! A household that does NOT have children under 18, a pregnant household member, or a non-custodial parent can get food stamps. However, the household would not be considered TANF eligible.

  1. If the customer is under sanctions for TANF, are they still eligible for TANF/HEAP?

YES, as long as they are still eligible for TANF/HEAP per the guidelines.

Please click on the PDF below for more information about the increased income guidelines for HEAP. Please see the attached document. Some of your clients may be eligible and they can get a one time payment to help with their utility bill. This is similar to the program Project Thaw in 2001.

Eligibility Guidelines

To find your local agency please click on this link.


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