koehler flr 052320PEORIA – To give residents who are struggling the chance to receive assistance with utility bills, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) is highlighting the expansion of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) included in the state budget.

“LIHEAP is just one of the many vital services our residents are relying on to get them through this difficult moment,” Koehler said. “If people are just barely unqualified for this program, that does not mean they aren’t struggling and couldn’t use the financial assistance. The expansion of this program will allow more people to take advantage of the opportunity for lower utility bills.”

The LIHEAP expansion would increase the qualifying threshold from 150% of the federal poverty level to 200% of the federal poverty level, allowing more people to take advantage of available aid from the state. Additionally, the amount of credit issued to those who qualify would increase to:

  • $2,400 ($200 per month) annually if applicants are above the federal poverty level
  • $3,000 ($250 per month) annually if applicants are under the federal poverty level

For a single person to meet the federal poverty level an income of $12,760 per year is required, and for family of four, $26,200 per year.

“This is the sort of moment when government is supposed to step up and offer a helping hand wherever possible,” Koehler said. “Forcing people to choose between paying their utility bill and affording groceries for the month is unacceptable. By giving more people access to financial assistance programs such as LIHEAP, Illinoisans won’t be forced to make that choice.”

The state budget proposal now awaits Governor Pritzker’s approval.