Rezin files legislation to expand state’s LIHEAP system

In order to provide much-need relief for Illinoisan struggling to afford increasing heating bills, Illinois Senate Deputy Minority Leader Sue Rezin (R-Morris) filed legislation to expand the state’s Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to ensure that more families could access its benefits.

“Like most Illinoisans, I have been concerned with the rising rate for natural gas that we have seen throughout the state,” said Sen. Rezin. “This is an issue that affects all of us and appears to be only getting worst. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the market prices of gas rose by more than 24 percent this December. This, plus other factors, has caused experts to project a 30 percent increase in winter heating prices for nearly half of all U.S. households.”

Senate Bill 4068, also known as the Home Heating Relief Act of 2022, will help protect families from energy inflation and runaway heating costs this winter by adding a second tier to the low-income assistance program. The new tier of LIHEAP will allow a family of four with a yearly income between $55,501, to $110,000 to be eligible for a new home heating relief rebate.

“Until now, our state’s middle class has had little to no options for relief when it comes to increasing heating bills,” said Sen. Rezin. “This legislation is the first step in ensuring that Illinois families are able to heat their homes in an affordable fashion.”

Eligible families seeking to receive the new rebate would apply the same way as the current LIHEAP system, which is limited to a family of four making less than $55,500 per year. First-time small business owners may also apply. The new program will comprise of a $500 million Home Heating Rebate Relief Fund for FY22 and FY23. Funding would be distributed on a first come basis.

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