The requirements for low income energy assistance vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. They may even vary among different assistance programs available within the same jurisdiction. In most cases, however, the main eligibility requirement is a low income. In addition, programs may also consider the household size in determining whether an applicant is eligible or not. Often, an applicant with a larger income is eligible for energy assistance because he has an equally large family size.
Typically, income is the primary factor in determining whether a person is eligible for assistance or not. Most energy assistance programs set income guidelines, which may be adjusted each year. Often, anyone who falls within the income range is eligible for energy assistance. These programs may also set other criteria an applicant has to meet, however. For example, he may have to provide proof that he is responsible for an energy bill and is not already receiving some form of assistance with it.
An individual may think he will be denied low income energy assistance because he does not have unpaid, overdue energy bills. Many assistance programs do not make unpaid energy bills an eligibility requirement, however. Instead, a person may only have to show that he is responsible for paying his own energy bills and his low income makes it difficult for him to do so. Some programs may even provide assistance to those whose energy bills are added to their rent each month.
Family size usually plays an important role in low income energy assistance eligibility. Often, assistance programs not only consider a person's low income, but also the size of the family that has to survive on it. For this reason, a low income energy assistance program may set a lower income threshold for a single person than an applicant with several family members to support.
As part of the application process to obtain low income energy assistance, a person typically has to provide proof of his eligibility. In most cases, this involves providing proof of income, such as pay stubs, tax returns, or a statement from the applicant's employer. Likewise, an individual may have to provide proof of residency, such as a utility bill with his address on it or a copy of a rental lease. Many programs also request proof of the applicant’s household size and copies of current energy bills.