Low-income households across the United States face constant challenges in meeting rising utility costs, specifically in maintaining telephone service and paying to heat and cool their homes. This AARP Public Policy Institute report by Ann McLarty Jackson and Neal Walters identifies and describes programs that federal and state governments have mandated, funded, or approved to help low-income households initiate and maintain energy and telephone service. The report facilitates comparisons between and among states and across services.
The first of three main sections describes four federal programs: Lifeline and Link-Up, which provide discounts to low-income households for initial installation of phone service and monthly phone bills; the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps low-income households afford heating and cooling costs; and the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), which provides low-income households with equipment and services to improve energy efficiency.
The second section on state programs explores some of the similarities and differences among assistance programs across the states. A final section provides state profiles for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each profile describes the primary low-income assistance programs that the particular state has developed, administered, authorized, or funded, including key data such as benefit amounts, eligibility requirements, funding, and participation levels. To provide a basic understanding of each state’s unique environment, each profile also includes demographic data such as state population, state median income, percentage of households in the state headed by persons age 50 and older, and percentage of households in the state with total income below 150 percent of the federal poverty guideline. (266 pages)
Individual State Profiles (PDF)