ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois has expanded its utility bill assistance program.

“We are trying to get through thousands and thousands of applications as quickly as we can, utilizing the funding that we have. But, again, priority periods are set by the State of Illinois. We follow and adhere to those priority periods. But, we just ask people to be patient. We will get to you as soon as we can and we will do all that we can to utilize the funding we have until it is exhausted,” said Owen Carter, Deputy Director of Program Operations for the City of Rockford.

The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is available statewide and offers financial support for household utility bills for gas, propane, and electricity.

On November 1st, the program was expanded to include eligible households that are disconnected or facing imminent disconnection.

“With temperatures dropping and the winter season just weeks away, my administration is ensuring that every family has the assistance they need to keep the lights and the heat on,” said Gov. JB Pritzker. “With DCEO’s Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, we are providing utility bill support to thousands of income-eligible families—and I urge those who are disconnected or facing imminent disconnection to apply. Here in Illinois, we look out for our neighbors, and that’s exactly what LIHEAP is all about.”

All families who meet the qualifications and provide proper documentation will receive support until funding is exhausted. Families who earn up to 200% of the federal poverty level, have a household with a senior, a child or children under 6, and/or a person with a disability, along with households that provide proper documentation of disconnection or imminent disconnection from a utility are now eligible to receive support through LIHEAP.

Eligible families including those that are disconnected or facing imminent disconnection can apply by visiting or by visiting their local agency (a list of partners throughout the State can be found here).

Last year over 311,000 households received LIHEAP, with an average of over $1,000 per household.