340:20-1-4. Coordination and outreach
(a) Coordination with Indian tribes. Some, but not all, Oklahoma Indian tribes receive federal funds to operate their own Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), per Section 8623 of Title 42 of the United States Code (42 U.S.C. § 8623). Tribes may choose to use their funds for one assistance payment per household or through multiple application periods throughout the federal fiscal year that runs from October through September each year. • 1
(1) Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) and participating tribes share information regarding tribal member's receipt of LIHEAP to prevent assistance duplication. • 2
(2) Tribal members are not eligible to receive energy assistance from their tribe and OKDHS for the same federal fiscal year.
(3) When a tribal member applies for LIHEAP through OKDHS, LIHEAP staff treats the person's eligibility in the same manner as any other household when the person is a member of a tribe that:
(A) does not operate its own LIHEAP; or
(B) operates its own LIHEAP, but the person has not applied to the tribe for energy assistance.
(4) When a tribal member applies for OKDHS LIHEAP and it is determined that a household member received energy assistance from a tribal LIHEAP program for the same federal fiscal year, LIHEAP staff denies the application.
(5) When a tribal member approved for OKDHS LIHEAP later applies for tribal LIHEAP for the same federal fiscal year, the tribe denies its application unless the tribal member requests that OKDHS cancel its certification before payment is made.
(b) Coordination with utility suppliers. OKDHS LIHEAP Unit staff are responsible for familiarizing utility suppliers with LIHEAP regulations, per 42 U.S.C. § 8624. During the Energy Crisis Assistance Program, centralized LIHEAP staff must coordinate with utility suppliers to pledge payment and ensure fuel is delivered in a timely manner to settle the energy crisis. • 3
(c) Coordination with other OKDHS programs. LIHEAP payments are disregarded in all OKDHS programs. LIHEAP coordinates with other Adult and Family Services income support programs, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), TANF flex funds, and State Supplemental Payment. When the household's need is for primary home energy, it is met through LIHEAP when LIHEAP funds are available. TANF flex funds are used for emergency needs that LIHEAP does not cover.
(d) Outreach. OKDHS provides information and presentations regarding LIHEAP to interested persons and community agencies, per 42 U.S.C. § 8624. OKDHS collaborates with local Community Action agencies to offer energy efficient workshops and coordinate energy assessments on LIHEAP households' homes to evaluate what may be done to lower energy costs. Some utility suppliers enroll LIHEAP clients in discount rates for their main heating and cooling energy sources. • 4
1. When the household includes a tribal member, centralized Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) staff refers to Oklahoma Human Services (OKDHS) Appendix D-4-B, Oklahoma Indian Tribes Administering Their Own Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), to determine if the person's tribe operates its own LIHEAP program.
2. Centralized LIHEAP and county staff share LIHEAP approval information with tribes when contacted. When a household member's tribe operates its own LIHEAP program, staff verifies with the appropriate tribal agency if the household received LIHEAP assistance during the same federal fiscal year before approving the household for OKDHS LIHEAP.
3. County office staff email the Adult and Family Services LIHEAP Unit when a utility supplier or a client reports an account name or number requires a correction.
4. OKDHS coordinates outreach to interested individuals and community agencies such as:
(1) Community Action agencies;
(2) local service providers;
(3) public and private organizations serving and representing elderly and disabled persons;
(4) federal government offices;
(5) home energy suppliers;
(6) the public education system;
(7) law enforcement agencies;
(8) community-based organizations; and
(9) the media.