While virtually all states have eligibility requirements pertaining to identity, income, and home energy obligation, there are other factors that states consider. They include state residency and receipt of LIHEAP through a tribe or tribal organization.
Neither the LIHEAP statute nor regulations mention state residency requirements for LIHEAP recipients. While some states do require that recipients be residents of the state in which they are applying, it appears that most states do not. Or, if they do require residency, they do not clarify the restriction with a time limit. For example, Minnesota states, "Anyone residing in Minnesota at the time of application for Primary Heat or request for Crisis or ERR may have eligibility determined," and Virginia states, "Applicants must reside in the locality in which they apply for any EAP component."
Among states with residency requirements, some place time period on residency, e.g., the applicant household must have lived in the state for a certain number of months. States may cite the requirement in their plans, their Frequently Asked Questions, regulations, or outreach materials. They may include on their LIHEAP applications questions pertaining to residency, e.g., when did the applicant move to the state or how long the applicant has lived in the state.
Some examples of state practices:
Arizona: Applicant must be a resident of Arizona. Services cannot be authorized or provided to an applicant who is traveling through the state or living in Arizona for a temporary reason. Assistance may be provided to homeless households if they are requesting assistance to establish utility services.
Maryland: In order to qualify for MEAP or EUSP benefits, applicants and household members must be residents of the State of Maryland. The proof of residence must have the individual's name and indicate a Maryland street address to identify the location for delivery. Documents with Post Office Box addresses are not acceptable as proof of residence.
Note: Mailing addresses may be in another state, as some residents of towns near state borders may have a post office box in the bordering state or some applicants may have a caretaker (relative or otherwise) responsible for paying bills but living in another location. Acceptable documentation for proof of residence:
- Valid Driver's license provided that the address on the license is verified as the delivery address.
- Current (within the calendar year) Residential lease/rent contract
- Current (within program year) OHEP Landlord Agreement
- Recent (within past 30 days) bills that include the applicant's name and street address, not a post office box number and this includes utility bills, cable TV bill, telephone bill, major credit card bill
- Current bank checking or savings statements
- Current (within calendar year) benefit letters or notices from the Social Security Administration or from the local Department of Social Services
- Valid Maryland vehicle registration card or title
- Valid Voter registration card
- Current (within calendar year) Property tax bill or receipt
- Printout from the Department of Assessments and Taxation website showing home ownership
- Mortgage account statement or proof of home ownership
Where there is a question as to the residency of household members documentation should be requested to ensure that the person is residing at the applicant's address. This could be through any of the documents listed above or also mail such as bills, bank statement, government letters etc. addressed to the person at the applicant's address.
A copy of the proof of residence for the applicant is placed in the applicant's file.
Indiana: The applicant must reside in the State of Indiana at the time of application and for at least one (1) month of the current heating or "moratorium" season (December 1 through March 15) to be eligible for the Energy Assistance Program.
Nevada: Applicants must live in Nevada to be eligible for benefits. Applicants must reside in the state at the time of application, benefit payment, and/or refund or re-issuance of benefits. Applicants can not be receiving public assistance benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from any state other than the State of Nevada. The Nevada residence must be the primary residence, not a vacation or secondary home.
Current verification of residency and service address must be verified at each application and reapplication for benefits. Possible verification sources are as follows (not all inclusive):
- Valid Nevada Drivers License with current residence address.
- Utility bill/statements (electric, gas, etc.) listing the applicant's name and current physical address.
- Rental/Lease Agreement listing the applicant’s name and current residence address.
- Completed Rental Verification form
- Current landlord statement
- Employer's statement or records (e.g., client's physical address listed on pay stub or Employment Verification form).
- NOMADS printout which lists the household members as currently receiving TANF, Food Stamps and/or Medicaid.
New Jersey: The household members shall be residents of New Jersey. The term "resident" shall be interpreted to mean any person living in the State voluntarily or residing in the State having entered with a job commitment or seeking employment even if he or she is currently unemployed.
Pennsylvania: Applicant households must permanently live in Pennsylvania. The LIHEAP State Plan defines a resident as a person whose permanent home is in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and who lives here voluntarily and not temporarily for a reason such as vacation, a visit or education. A residence is defined as the dwelling where the household s actually living.
Arizona: Tribal Members: If an applicant is a member of a tribe that receives LIHEAP funding directly from the Federal Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) or contracts from the Arizona Department of Economic Security-Division of Aging and Adult Services (ADES-DAAS) and resides on reservation land, the Community Action Agencies (CAAs) are not required to provide utility assistance benefits.
Montana: Households deemed to be within the service population of an Indian tribe which received direct funding from the department to run its own program shall not be eligible for further LIEAP benefits from the state within the current heating season.
Oregon: For those agencies with the above tribes in their service territory:-- If a member from one of the above listed tribes lives on a reservation or on tribal trust lands, they should be referred back to their tribal LIHEAP program for energy assistance services. If for any reason an eligible tribal member is unable to access their tribal LIHEAP program (e.g. out of funds, geographically inaccessible, unanticipated hardship) they should be served as any other eligible household.
Utah: Members of Utah's five Native American Tribes may apply at the HEAT agency in their area, or may apply directly through their local tribal LIHEAP program if available. They cannot, however, apply at both offices and cannot receive assistance from both programs in the same program year.