Heating/Cooling Standard Utility Allowance (HCSUA)


Heating/Cooling Standard Utility Allowance (HCSUA)

The HCSUA applies to a household that either incurs heating or cooling costs separate from its rent or is regularly billed for heating or cooling costs.

Households that either received Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) fuel assistance payments within the past 12 months or received the $21 Heat and Eat

(H-EAT) Program payment within the past 12 months are also calculated with the HCSUA.

A household that receives indirect energy assistance payments, made under a program other than LIHEAP, but continues to incur out-of-pocket heating expenses during any month covered by the certification period, is still eligible to use the HCSUA.  



If the household moves, you must update the Standard Utility Allowance page to reflect new utility expenses, regardless of whether the household has LIHEAP or H-EAT dates in BEACON.  BEACON automatically assigns LIHEAP and H-EAT dates. 



The case record must accurately reflect the utility expenses the household is reporting to pay.  Failure to document which utilities a household is responsible for will result in a missed opportunity to participate in the H-EAT program, inaccurate benefit calculation, and/or a Quality Control error. 


Group Homes

Under an agreement with the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and Department of Mental Health (DMH), individuals who live in certain group homes can be credited with 10 percent of rental costs as payment for heat and the remaining 90 percent is considered a Shelter Expense. If the Other Agency Certification of Shelter Expenses for Licensed Group Home Residents/ Other Agency Certification of Shelter Expenses (FS-ACSE) form reflects this breakdown of shelter expenses, the group home resident is eligible for the HCSUA.


Verification of Heating Expenses

The HCSUA includes the following expenses: heating, air conditioning, cooking fuel, electricity, water, sewerage, garbage and trash collection, the basic fee for one telephone and tax, and initial utility installation fee.  A signed and dated self-declaration of utility expenses, including the utility expenses written on an application or reevaluation form, is acceptable as a verification of utility costs, unless the information provided is contradictory or questionable.  If you determine that the information provided is questionable and further verification is needed, acceptable verifications include, but are not limited to:


Processing of Unverified Utility Expense Deductions

Some expenses may be self-declared, such as utilities. If a self-declared expense is questionable, additional verification must be provided.

In instances where verification is requested but not provided, households must have their eligibility and benefit amount determined as follows:



Households in receipt of the HCSUA through the H-EAT Program remain eligible for H-EAT benefits for one year beginning from the date the household was authorized for H-EAT, regardless of change of address or homelessness.




All verified expense changes should be entered in BEACON even if the benefit does not change, to ensure an accurate Electronic Case Folder. Annotate the Narrative tab explaining any action taken.


Entering Standard Utility Allowance Data

Changing Standard Utility Allowance Data

Heating/Cooling Standard Utility Allowance Policy and Procedures

Standard Utility Allowance Page



  Last Update:  August 26, 2016