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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed block grant funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), focusing on possible congressional action to help the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the states better manage LIHEAP.

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Recommendations

Matter for Congressional Consideration

Matter Status Comments
To help HHS and the states better manage LIHEAP, Congress should consider forward funding the program, making funding available early enough in each year so HHS can notify states of the exact amount they will receive before they open their heating programs.
Closed - Implemented
In November 1990, Congress passed P.L. 101-501 reauthorizing LIHEAP, which contained a provision adopting the suggestion for forward funding.
To help HHS and the states better manage LIHEAP, Congress should consider giving HHS some discretionary funding flexibility to enable it to quickly respond to unanticipated circumstances.
Closed - Implemented
The 1991 and 1992 HHS appropriations laws contained provisions that set aside funds for emergency circumstances and established conditions to release these funds. The House version of the 1993 HHS appropriations law provides for continuation of the set-aside.

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