Help for Illinois Families: Relief for Households Across the State
The Pritzker Administration, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO), has launched a new initiative to help Illinois families access and afford home energy assistance and other essential services during COVID-19. Building on the State’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program, the State’s Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 21) budget authorizes an expansion of the LIHEAP and CSBG programs for eligible Illinoisans seeking emergency assistance to cover costs of utility bills, rent, temporary shelter, food, and other household necessities.
Effective immediately, the Help Illinois Families initiative is implementing an online pre-application form to make it easier and faster for individuals and families to start the application process remotely and to determine eligibility for LIHEAP and/or CSBG services. Increased eligibility thresholds for FY21 aims to assist additional households needing support due to challenges exacerbated by COVID-19.
This initiative remains available for all qualifying low-income households, regardless of how they may be affected COVID-19. Eligible families may qualify for hundreds of dollars of support; all applications will be reviewed on a first come, first served basis. More information on the remote application process can be found below.
You may be eligible to receive financial assistance for the following services:
LIHEAP helps eligible low-income households pay for home energy services. This includes assistance with heating, gas, propane and electricity. More information on services available in your region can be found by visiting your Local Administering Agency (LAA) page.
Deadline: The deadline for FY20 LIHEAP services is June 30, 2020; however FY21 LIHEAP enrollment opens up earlier than usual on July 27, 2020.
CSBG offers Illinoisans an opportunity to receive support for an array of essential services including rent assistance, food, temporary shelter, medicine and more. Check your local Community Action Agency (CAA) page for a list of available services near you.
Deadline: CSBG remains open all year with expanded income eligibility guidelines in effect as of February 2020.
If you need help with basic household amenities covered by the programs mentioned above and believe that you may be income-eligible, please review the following before submitting an application:
Is my household income within 200% of federal poverty level? If your household’s combined income for the 30 days prior to application (gross income for all household members, before taxes are deducted) is at or below 200% of the federal poverty level as shown in the chart below, you may be eligible to receive assistance.
(total number in household)
30-Day Gross Income|
Total to Meet Eligibility
Add $747 monthly income per person above 4 people
What documentation do I need to prove eligibility? For each household member, please have the following documents ready to confirm eligibility with your LAA or CAA: social security card, proof of past 30-day income through paystub, check or copy of check showing fixed income amount (e.g. SSA, VA, DHS benefits), or other proof of documentation for any income source, and utility bill if seeking utility bill assistance or lease if seeking rental assistance.
If you need assistance with completing and submitting your application, contact the call center at 1-833-711-0374 for live support. The call center will provide translation services in English, Spanish, and other languages if necessary.
Please keep in mind that our call center has only a limited number of agents, so please reserve use of the call center for those who require help with language assistance and/or for callers with hearing impediments needing enhanced audio services.
When should I expect to receive an update on my application?
After your pre-application form has been submitted, await a callback from your LAA or CAA to review and confirm your eligibility and determine the amount of your LIHEAP and/or CSBG benefit. The State estimates that a response could range from days to weeks – based on date of pre-application submittal, availability of funds and the type of services applied for. Please keep in mind the volume of requests is very large given the impact of COVID-19 and it may take longer for your application to be processed. Click the county where you live and call your
Help for Illinois Families is administered by DCEO’s Office of Community Assistance. DCEO manages three federal programs; Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Community Services Block Grant Program (CSBG), and the Illinois Home Weatherization Assistance Program (IHWAP).