Seniors May Be Eligible for Help with Summer Energy Costs

Related topics: Legal & Financial

Summer heat waves drive temperatures sky high…and energy bills from air conditioning unfortunately rise right along with the thermometer. Seniors are at higher risk of heat-related illness. Yet many are forced to choose between cooling their house to a safe temperature and other expenses, including food and medications.

For many older people this can be a life or death issue, a fact that is tragically revealed during summer heat waves. Many of us well remember the heat event of 1995, when 485 people died in a major midwestern city in one week, the vast majority of whom were poor older people who could not afford to pay the utility bills to cool their apartments or were without air conditioning altogether.

Benefits CheckUp Web Page

Older adults can use BenefitsCheckUp® (, a free online screening service of the National Council on Aging (NCOA), to learn if they are eligible for help with their energy costs. Many older adults may be unaware of federal programs such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) that offers financial assistance for home energy needs to families or individuals who qualify. LIHEAP is available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia (each state may refer to the program by a different name).

"Older people are especially vulnerable to extreme temperatures, making adequate air conditioning critical," said Stuart Spector, NCOA Senior Vice President. "Millions of older Americans on fixed incomes qualify for energy assistance and are not taking advantage of LIHEAP. BenefitsCheckUp can help seniors find out if they're eligible for this essential help."

Seniors should use BenefitsCheckUp® to search for energy assistance programs in their state. BenefitsCheckUp® helps seniors determine eligibility for LIHEAP and other benefits programs such as savings on food, prescription drugs, and other healthcare needs. It is as simple as completing an online questionnaire.

BenefitsCheckUp® is the nation's most comprehensive web-based service to screen for benefits programs for seniors with limited income and resources. It includes almost 2,000 public and private benefits programs from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since 2001, more than 2.5 million people have used the service, identifying benefits valued at more than $8.9 billion. For more information, visit