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Categorical Eligibility

In addition to determining eligibility on the basis of income under the FPG or SMI guidelines as detailed above, states may define a household as "categorically" eligible, (Section 2605(b)(2)(A)) also referred to as "automatically" eligible, if at least one person in that household receives assistance under any of the following programs: TANF, SNAP, SSI or "certain means tested veteran's programs."

As shown in this table, 20 states and one territory implemented the categorical eligibility option in 2018.

State
TANF
SSI
SNAP
VA
Other Qualifying Programs or Conditions
Alaska
X
X
X
  Categorical eligibility for heating and crisis
Arkansas    
X
  Households that have an elderly or a disabled person and receive SNAP benefits are mailed a Potential Eligible Application prior to the start of the LIHEAP program if none of the information has changed, then the household would be eligible to receive a payment toward their energy bill.
Connecticut
X
      A household in which ALL members are participating in one or more of the programs will automatically be considered income eligible. Categorically eligible households whose annual gross income is above 150% of the federal poverty guidelines shall be determined income eligible at the same level as households with incomes between 126% to 150% FPG, but must meet all other program requirements in order to receive energy assistance.
Delaware
X
 
District of Columbia
X
X
X
  Categorical eligibility for heating, crisis and weatherization
Georgia
X
X
X
  Those that are categorically eligible must submit the same documents as those that are not categorically eligible. The benefit amount is also the same being $350 or $310.
Hawaii
X
X
X
  Eligibility determination and benefit amounts are determined based on a point system which is used for all households. Basic eligibility requirements are the same for all households. There is no differentiation in point assignments among income eligible households and categorically eligible households. No difference is made when payment amounts. In crisis assistance, payment is issued according to the alleviation amount as verified by the utility company to restore service, with the same maximum payment for income eligible and categorical eligible households.
Idaho
X
X
X
  In determining benefits for the heating component, there is no differentiation between non-categorically and categorically eligible participants. The benefit level is established by using a heating matrix which shows an average heating cost by region in the State. The benefit amount received by an eligible household is based on the household income, fuel type and energy burden. Households with the lowest income receive the highest benefit for their fuel type by region. Households with members who are disabled, over 60 or have children under the age of six (6) are considered vulnerable populations and are given a target benefit. We estimate approximately three-quarters of categorically eligible families who received a LIHEAP benefit the prior year have one or more vulnerable members in the household. These families will be allowed to use the state's abbreviated application process to apply for benefits at the beginning of the LIHEAP regular season. In addition, all other households who received a benefit last year with members who meet the vulnerable population definition will be contacted by state and encouraged to apply for benefits at the beginning of the regular
LIHEAP season.
Kentucky
X
X
X
X
Benefit amounts in every LIHEAP component are determined based on each household's income, percent of poverty, family size, and primary type of heating source. In no component is the determination of benefits based on a household being categorically eligible. Benefit amounts in the weatherization program are determined by the Dwelling Needs Evaluation and based on measures recommended by the National Energy Audit Tool (NEAT) and Manufactured Home Energy Audit (MHEA).
Massachusetts
X
Household eligible if received H-EAT
Montana
X
X
X
General Assistance (Heating, Crisis and Weatherization)
Nebraska
X
  Eligible for heating, cooling and crisis
New Jersey
X
 
New York
X
SSI Code A
X
  Code A SSI defined as Code A for both federal and New York State SSI living arrangements. Code A SSI households are categorically eligible for the Heating and, Cooling, and Crisis components. Code A SSI households are not categorically eligible for Weatherization.
Oklahoma
X
X
X
Categorically eligible for heating, cooling, and crisis
Puerto Rico
X*
  *TANF participants who have an active account with the PR Electric Power Authority are automatically enrolled in the Cooling Assistance. This is done considering that TANF participants are among the most needed families in Puerto Rico. Participants for Crisis and Weatherization assistance have to submit an application requesting these benefits.
Rhode Island
X
  Heating and Crisis
South Dakota    
X
  Categorical eligibility is for household receiving the nominal LIHEAP benefit. (Heat and Eat) Intake for categorical eligible household is exactly the same as all other households.
Texas  
X
X
Categorically eligible for heating, cooling, crisis and weatherization
Washington    
X
 
West Virginia
X
X
X
 

Source: FY 2018 LIHEAP Plans.