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Federal Poverty Guidelines Reduce Income Requirements for Energy Assistance Program


Metro Action Transitions to Fewer Families Eligible for Much Needed Help with Utility Bills

Nashville, TN—The Metropolitan Action Commission, which administers the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), received notice from the Tennessee Department of Human Services that the U.S. Congress did not extend a provision that allowed families with low incomes to earn more annually and still qualify for assistance.

LIHEAP, which is a federally funded program, allows designated agencies to provide one-time energy payment assistance for utilities such as natural gas or electricity payments. The Metro Action Commission is the designated agency for Davidson County.

“As we are seeing more families, the reduction in income qualifications from 200% of poverty to 150% of poverty will have its greatest impact on the working poor whose incomes do not allow them to fully meet their basic necessities,” said Cynthia Croom, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Action Commission.

This fiscal year Metro Action received over $9 Million to help income eligible families with energy payments. This is the largest amount of LIHEAP funds the agency has received in the history of the program. Metro Action has increased its outreach efforts to ensure more families are aware of the program.

Prior to the revision of the poverty standard rate, Metro Action had already served over 14,000 families. The agency expects to serve a total of close to 22,000 Davidson County families this year.

What the income requirement revision means for a family of four:

  • 2008-09 Maximum Income (125%) - $26,500
  • 2009-10 Maximum Income (200%) - $44,100
  • 2010-11 Maximum Income (150%) Effective April 2011 - $33,525

All applications received before the revised income limits were processed under the previous guideline. Customers served after April 20, 2011 may access new applications online at

Applications are also available at the main office located at 1624 5th Avenue North and at the local libraries and both Nashville Electric Service locations by May 2.