340:20-1-14. Actions, method of payment, and notifications
Contingent upon the receipt of federal funding, submitted Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) applications are approved or denied, payments are issued, and households are notified of their eligibility during winter heating, summer cooling, and Energy Crisis Assistance Program (ECAP) application periods.
(1) Households pre-authorized for LIHEAP. Selected households may be pre-authorized for winter heating or summer cooling and sent a pre-authorization notice prior to an open application period.
(B) The pre-authorization notice informs the household:
(i) of the utility supplier and the account name and number Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) intends to pay based on the prior year's certification; and
(ii) to report correct information to OKDHS within 10-calendar days of the pre-authorization notice date, when the utility supplier or account name or number is different. When the household reports correct information after this date, the household must apply during the open enrollment period as pre-authorization information can no longer be corrected.
(C) When the household reports that the pre-authorization information on the notice is incorrect within 10-calendar days of the pre-authorization notice date, the household must provide correct information to determine if the household meets preauthorization criteria. • 1
(i) When the household reports that the utility supplier changed to a supplier that does not participate in LIHEAP, staff explains that OKDHS cannot pay the supplier based on pre-authorization information and encourages the household to file an application during the open enrollment period.
(ii) When the household reports a different account number with the same utility provider, staff asks for the address and the account name and number on the utility bill.
(I) When the address is the same as the OKDHS address of record and the account holder is a household member, pre-authorization information is updated.
(II) When the address is different, the household must provide a document that verifies the household lives at the new address, such as a lease agreement or other document showing a household member's name and the new address, within 10-calendar days of the date on the notice. • 2
(III) When the account number changed because the account name changed to another household member who is included in another Adult and Family Services (AFS) benefit using the same case number, the preauthorization information is updated.
(IV) When the account name is different and the person is not included as a household member in another AFS benefit using the same case number, the household must verify the account holder has a separate address or provide income or resource information for the account holder before preauthorization information is changed. When the person lives in the home, the pre-authorization is closed and the household must apply during the open enrollment period. • 3
(D) Households are not pre-authorized for ECAP.
(2) Changes that occur after application submission. When changes occur in the household's circumstances prior to certification, such as, but not limited to, moving or income changes, the household must report the change within 10-calendar days of the change occurring. Once a change is reported, new utility information or income verification may need to be provided prior to the application being processed.
(3) Approvals. Households may be approved for LIHEAP during each of the three-designated application periods per fiscal year.
(A) Certain households may be approved for ECAP outside of a designated application period when there is a life-threatening emergency, per OAC 340:20-1-17(g).
(B) Households are approved for LIHEAP when they:
(i) submit a signed and completed application during the designated application period, per OAC 340:20-1-12;
(ii) provide required verification, per OAC 340:20-1-13; and
(iii) meet program factors, per OAC 340:20-1-10.
(4) Denials. An application is denied when the household:
(A) submits the application outside of a designated application period;
(B) submits an incomplete application. Reasons an application is considered incomplete include submitting an unsigned application or not providing utility information. When the household does not sign the application or fails to provide utility information, the application is immediately denied and the household must reapply;
(C) fails to verify program factors, per OAC 340:20-1-10. Prior to application denial, the household must be given or sent Form 08AD092E, Client Contact and Information Request, indicating what verification must be provided and given at least 10-calendar days to provide the needed verification; or
(D) does not meet program factors, per OAC 340:20-1-10.
(5) Timeliness. Applications are considered timely processed when approved or denied within:
(A) 60-calendar days of the application date for winter heating and summer cooling; or
(B) no later than 18 hours from the application date for an ECAP application involving a life-threatening medical situation or 48 hours for all other ECAP applications.
(6) LIHEAP payments. LIHEAP payment amounts are estimated and reserved for each application period based on available funding and may be adjusted as needed. Refer to OKDHS Appendix C-7-A, Estimated Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) Benefit Level for all Households, for maximum payment amounts.
(A) Payment amounts are determined based on the household's size, income, and primary energy source.
(B) One payment is made per approved application directly to:
(i) designated energy suppliers on behalf of approved households responsible for their utilities; or
(ii) the household when the:
(I) utilities are included in the rent; or
(II) energy supplier is not designated to receive direct payments from OKDHS.
(C) When payment is made to the household instead of an energy supplier, approved payment may be made directly to the household on a debit card or, when the household receives Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or State Supplemental Payment cash assistance by direct deposit, payment may be made through direct deposit in the same bank account, per OAC 340:65-3-6.
(D) Payments are made on a weekly basis as applications are approved.
(7) Closures. The LIHEAP authorization automatically closes after the LIHEAP payment issues. Authorizations are closed when it is discovered that an ineligible household was certified in error before a LIHEAP payment is made. • 4
(8) Computer-generated notices. Computer-generated notices are mailed to the applicant or recipient showing actions taken.
(A) PSNEN37D, Heating Notice of Payment, is mailed to the household as notification that payment was made to the utility supplier on his or her behalf for winter heating.
(B) PSNEN37E, Notice of Denial, is mailed to the household when an application is denied.
(C) PSNEN37F, Notice of Closure, is mailed to the household when the utility supplier reports the recipient's account is inactive, no longer in service, incorrect, or final with no amount due.
(D) PSNEN37K, Utility Account Verification and Pre-Approval Notice, is mailed to households pre-authorized for LIHEAP winter heating.
(E) PSNEN37M, Energy Crisis Assistance Program Notice of Payment, is mailed to the recipient as notification that payment was made to the supplier.
(F) PSNEN37O, Cooling Notice of Payment, is mailed to the recipient as notification that payment was made to the energy supplier on his or her behalf for summer cooling.
(G) PSNEN37P, Notice of Direct Payment for Heating, is mailed to the recipient as notification that payment was made directly to the household for winter heating.
(H) PSNEN37Q, Notice of Direct Payment for Cooling, is mailed to the recipient as notification that payment was made directly to the household for summer cooling.
(I) PSNEN37R, Notice of Direct Payment for ECAP, is mailed to the recipient as notification that payment was made directly to the household for ECAP.
(J) PSNEN37T, Utility Account Verification and Pre-Approval Notice, is mailed to households pre-authorized for LIHEAP summer cooling.
(9) Employee-generated notice. Form 08LH003E, Notice of Eligibility for Energy Assistance, is sent to the energy supplier or given to the recipient to take to the energy supplier as notification that the household meets eligibility requirements for crisis assistance, per OAC 340:20-1-17. Issuance of Form 08LH003E is not necessary when the supplier's business system is set up to receive a daily OKDHS approval file.
INSTRUCTIONS TO STAFF 340:20-1-14
1. When the household contacts Oklahoma Human Services county staff to find out if the household was preauthorized for winter heating or summer cooling assistance or to report that account information changed, staff reviews the account holder's name, supplier's name and code, account number, and action and reason codes on the 105cq screen.
(1) When the 105cq screen has a 1 in the action field, the household was preauthorized or certified for the payment. County staff reviews the account number and supplier information with the client to be sure the information is correct.
(2) When the action code is 6 and the reason is 10, this means the utility supplier could not identify which account number to pay because the account is invalid or does not exist. A closure notice is mailed to the household advising that the household may reapply or request a fair hearing when it disagrees with the closure action.
(3) When account information was incorrectly coded, the household must provide the correct account information. To correct the error, county staff does (A) or (B), but not both. County staff:
(A) emails the correct provider name and account number to firstname.lastname@example.org; or
(B) images the utility bill to the 90L Inbox.
2. When the household receives other benefits, centralized Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) staff:
(1) emails the new address to the worker of record and the Adult and Family Services LIHEAP mailbox; and
(2) documents the notification and address change in Family Assistance/Client Services case notes.
3. When there is a new household member, centralized LIHEAP staff closes the authorization with reason code 02. The closure notice informs the household it may apply for LIHEAP and request a fair hearing if it disagrees with the action.
4. When the utility supplier is unable to identify which account number to pay because the account is invalid or does not exist, the authorization is closed with an action code of 6 and reason code of 10. When the authorization is closed for any reason, the household is sent a closure notice advising that the household may reapply or request a fair hearing if it disagrees with the closure action.