Help Illinois Families

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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 form to make it easier and faster for individuals and families to remotely request assistance through the LIHEAP and/or CSBG programs. Funding may be limited in some areas of the state and completion of the form linked below is not a guarantee of funding.

Filling out the form below is the first step in a process that will be completed by local agencies throughout the state. Increased eligibility thresholds for FY21 aim to assist additional households needing support due to challenges exacerbated by COVID-19.

This initiative remains available for all qualifying households with low income, 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 and subject to funding availability. More information on the remote application process can be found below.

You may be eligible to receive financial assistance for the following services:

Water Service Payment
Water Service Payment
Water Service Payment
Water Service Payment
Rental Assistance
Temporary Shelter
Employment Training Placement



LIHEAP helps eligible households with low income 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 (referred to as a local agency) page.
Deadline: Last day to apply online with the pre-application is April 16. After that date you can apply through your local administering agency through May 31 2021.

Help Illinois Families banner

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 (referred to as a local agency) 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 the pre-application:


Am I eligible?

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.


Family Size
(total number in household)
30-Day Gross Income
Total to Meet Eligibility​
1 $2,127
2 $2,873
3 $3,620
4 $4,367
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 for your local agency to verify your eligibility: 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, utility bill if seeking utility bill assistance or lease if seeking rental assistance and a social security card or ITIN for residents who have them. Residents without ITIN or SSN can still apply. 


If you need assistance with completing and submitting your information, 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.

THIS IS A  PRE-APPLICATION AND DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE APPLYING FOR LIHEAP OR CSBG. The Local Agency will work with you to complete an application.


When should I expect to be contacted?
After your pre-application form has been submitted, await a callback or email from your local agency to review and confirm your eligibility and to determine the amount of your LIHEAP and/or CSBG benefit – this is Step 2 and it may be a few weeks before you are contacted. The State estimates that a response could range from days to weeks – based on date of your submittal, availability of funds and the type of services requested. Please keep in mind the volume of requests is very large given the impact of COVID-19 and it may take longer to hear back from the local agency to complete your request for benefits. Click the county where you live and call your local agency.

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).


Other Resources:


The State and Citizens Utility Board (CUB) hosted two free virtual events to assist residents in learning how to apply for the program.