Lesson Plan: Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

Origin of Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

Mark Wolfe talks about the origin of LIHEAP and the people who are focused on within the scope of the program.


The LIHEAP Program assists low income households with energy costs. LIHEAP offers programs that keep people cool during the summer and warm during the winter, help with energy bills, repairs and crises to avoid health and safety problems that may occur. Students will learn about this program, what it offers and who qualifies for the services in this lesson.


  • Step 1:

    Ask students to look up the definitions of the vocabulary terms listed to the right.

    This can be done for homework in advance of class or assigned to students individually or in pairs at the start of class.

    Discuss the meanings of the terms to prepare for the video content.

  • Step 2:

    View the following video clip with students to introduce the topic and offer background information on the program. Discuss the accompanying questions as a class.

    Students may use the handout below to take notes while watching the videos in this lesson.

    Handout: LIHEAP Program (Google Doc)

  • Video Clip 1: Origin of Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) (:53)

    Mark Wolfe talks about the origin of LIHEAP and the people who are focused on within the scope of the program.

    • How did this program begin?

    • Who does this program seek to support?
  • Step 3:

    Have students view the collection of video clipss below to learn more about the LIHEAP program.

    This can be done as a whole class, individually or a jigsaw activity.

    Use the questions included with each video to guide class discussion.

  • Video Clip 2: LIHEAP (2:39)

    Mark Wolfe, Executive Director, National Energy Assistance Directors Assn., explains what this program does, who qualifies for it and how it is funded.

    • What is this program and who qualifies for it?

    • Explain the funding trend for this program over time.

    • How does this program differ from Medicare and Medicaid in terms of funding?
  • Video Clip 3: LIHEAP: Distribution of Funds (1:00)

    Mark Wolfe discusses how funds are distributed in this program.

    • Explain how funds are distributed in this program.
  • Video Clip 4: LIHEAP: Asset Tests (:51)

    Mark Wolfe talks about asset tests and their relevance for qualifying for LIHEAP support.

    • Explain the role of asset tests in terms of qualifying for support through LIHEAP.
  • Video Clip 5: LIHEAP: Oversight (1:09)

    Mark Wolfe talks about how the program is managed.

    • Explain how this program is managed to reduce the chance of fraud.
  • Step 4:

    Students can complete the following culminating activity to share what they have learned:

    • You are living in a household where you require assistance with energy costs.

    • Explain who lives in your home, your employment and income, where you live as well as the value of any assets you may have.

    • Describe your current living conditions and why it is critical that you receive assistance as part of the LIHEAP program.
  • Extension Activity:

    Use the LIHEAP link to research the requirements to receive assistance in your state and present the information in class.

Additional Resources


  • Asset
  • Audit
  • Entitlement
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • Oversight
  • Social Safety Net
  • Spare Capacity
  • Utility
  • Vendor


Economics & Financial LiteracySocial Services


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