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Tennessee Increases LIHEAP Income Eligibility

The Tennessee legislature has passed legislation increasing the income eligibility for LIHEAP from 125 percent of federal poverty guidelines to 200 percent.  The measure was signed by the governor March 3 and went into effect that day.

The Metro Action Commission, the LIHEAP subgrantee for Nashville, said many households who have been turned down for LIHEAP in the past may now reapply.

"We know families are struggling, trying to make ends meet. This is an opportunity where we can provide assistance for those families," said Marvin Cox, community programs director. Under the new guidelines, a family of four can make up to $44,100 and still qualify for help. Before, that amount was $27,500. A newspaper article estimated that about 4,000 additional Tennessee families would now qualify for LIHEAP.

The legislation came in response to significant increases in LIHEAP funding for FY 2009 and 2010. In 2009, the state received about $80 million for LIHEAP, up from an average of about $27 million in prior years. For FY 2010, it expects to receive about $83.5 million. In its response to a February survey by the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association, it estimated it would serve over 112,000 households this year.

Source: Tennessee newspapers, legislature, MAC