The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services Low Income Energy Assistance Program will begin accepting applications from older adults and people with disabilities on Friday, Dec. 1.

It will accept other applications after the first of the year.

The program is meant to help financially challenged households keep the power on during the cold winter months. It uses federal funds to offer one-time payments that are sent directly to heating providers in order to address the high cost of warming homes during winter.

NCDHHS Senior Director for Human Services Carla West said this program is especially essential during this time of inflation.

“We know the cost of most things are increasing, and keeping homes warm and safe this winter will be a bigger burden for some of our neighbors,” she said, adding that the energy assistance program “helps ensure North Carolina’s older adults and people with disabilities who may be facing a financial hardship have the funds to help stay warm throughout these colder months.”

A lot of people don’t even need to apply. Payments for many homes will be distributed automatically to heating vendors starting in December to cover heating bills as long as at least one member of a household meets the following three requirements:

(1) Is age 60 or older or is a person with a disability receiving services through the NCDHHS Division of Aging and Adult Services,

(2) Currently receives Food and Nutrition Services, and

(3) Received a previous program payment during the 2022-2023 season.

Households meeting the requirements for the automatic payment should be notified of their eligibility by the end of November – and they don’t need to re-apply to get their heating bills covered.

Any household with a person 60 years of age or older or that includes a resident with a disability and is receiving services through the Division of Aging and Adult Services who for didn’t receive notice of an automated payment, can apply online at

Applicants can also call the Department of Social Services in their county to apply by phone or in person, or they can print out a paper application from to mail, fax or drop off at their local social services department.

To be eligible for the program, a household must:

  • Have at least one US citizen or non-citizen who meets the eligibility requirements,
  • Have income equal to or less than 130 percent of the federal poverty limit, and
  • Be responsible for their heating cost.

Beginning on Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024, all other households who meet the requirements may begin applying. Applications will be accepted from January 2 to Sunday, March 31, 2024 – or until funds are exhausted.

Last year, the program paid out roughly $63 million to help more than 143,000 households pay their heating bills from December 2022 through March 2023.

For more information on the program and eligibility requirements, you can visit