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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Program Statistics

Performance Measurement

Program performance (also referred to as Managing for Results or Results-Oriented Management) focuses, in large part, on measuring whether a program is producing desired outcomes in the lives of its beneficiaries. The feedback provided by the measurement data influences program improvement, strategic planning, and budgeting decisions for the program.

To understand and demystify the managing-for-results process, LIHEAP grantees and interested parties can refer to DEA's June 1999 publication, Managing for Results Primer, (PDF - 52KB).

Model Performance Goals and Measures

The first step towards establishing performance measurement for the LIHEAP program was DEA's issuance of LIHEAP model performance goals and measures in November 1995, as required by the Human Services Amendments of 1994 (Public Law 103-252). The goals and measures were developed through a consultative process with state and local LIHEAP officials. The LIHEAP model goals and measures were issued on 11/30/95.

Government Performance and Results Act

Seeking to promote improved government performance and accountability through better planning and reporting of the results of federal programs, Congress enacted the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (the Results Act or GPRA). The Results Act seeks to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and public accountability of federal agencies as well as to improve congressional decision making. It aims to do so by promoting a focus on program results and providing Congress with more objective information on the achievement of statutory objectives than was previously available.1

This Act established a government-wide requirement for agencies to report annually on their results in achieving their agency and program goals. Agencies can establish annual performance goals for the products and services they deliver, but they are particularly encouraged to include goals that represent outcomes, or the results of those products and services.1

The Government Accounting Office has identified the following four steps or activities in the performance measurement process to represent the analytic tasks involved in producing the documents required by the Act:2

  1. Identifying goals: Specify long-term strategic goals and annual performance goals that include the outcomes of program activities.
  2. Develop performance measures: Select measures to assess programs' progress in achieving their goals or intended outcomes.
  3. Collect data: Plan and implement the collection and validation of data on the performance measures.
  4. Analyze data and report results: Compare program performance data with the annual performance goals and report the results to agency and congressional decision makers.

Under GPRA, federal agencies are required to develop annually their performance plan for implementation in the following fiscal year, and to report program results to Congress, comparing performance for the previous fiscal year with the goals in its annual performance plan.

Further information about GPRA and performance planning is available at the following web sites:

Government Accounting Office's Reports on GPRA

Congressional Institute - The Results Act

Government Executive's Results Report

Office of Community Services' Results Oriented Management and Accountability (ROMA)

Performance Planning in the Administration for Children and Families


     1 From: Managing for Results: Measuring Program Results That Are Under Limited Federal Control (Letter Report, December 11, 1998, GAO/GGD-99-16).
     2 From: Managing for Results: Analytic Challenges in Measuring Performance (GAO/ HEHS/ GGD- 97- 138, May 30, 1997).

GPRA Plan and Report

Through its various programs the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) seeks to increase the health and prosperity of communities and tribes. LIHEAP is one of ACF's programs that focuses on this performance goal. Specifically, LIHEAP's GPRA goal is to target LIHEAP assistance to eligible households with the highest home energy needs. The initial development of targeting performance measures is discussed in Development of LIHEAP Targeting Performance Measures (DOC - 279KB), December 1997 (Word/173 KB). LIHEAP's current performance plan and report can be found under Strategic Goal 3, as part of ACF's Performance Plan and Report.

Targeting Indexes

National LIHEAP program goal: LIHEAP program funds are not sufficient to serve all of the households that are income eligible under the federal maximum income eligibility standard.  Given that limitation, the LIHEAP statute requires LIHEAP grantees to provide, in a timely manner, that the highest level of assistance will be furnished to those households that have the lowest incomes and the highest energy costs or needs in relation to income, taking into account family size.  The LIHEAP statute identifies the following two groups of low-income households as having the highest home energy needs: vulnerable households and high energy burden households.  Vulnerable households are those households with at least one member that is a young child, an individual with disabilities, or a frail older individual.  High energy burden households are those households with the lowest incomes and highest home energy costs.

National LIHEAP performance goals: Based on the national LIHEAP program goals, OCS focused its initial performance goals and measurement on targeting income eligible vulnerable households and income eligible high burden households. The current performance goals are:

  • Increase the percent of LIHEAP recipient households having at least one member age 60 years or older.
  • Increase the percent of LIHEAP recipient households having at least one member age 5 years or younger.
  • Increase the percent of LIHEAP recipient households having the lowest incomes and the highest energy costs.

LIHEAP performance measures: Performance goals must be measurable in order to determine if the goals are being achieved.  DEA has developed a set of performance indicators that provide for the collection of quantitative measures regarding LIHEAP recipiency and benefit targeting performance.

To quantify LIHEAP targeting performance, OCS has defined the following targeting performance indicators:

  • The recipiency targeting index quantifies recipiency targeting performance. The index is computed by comparing the percent of LIHEAP households that are members of the target group to the percent of all income eligible households that are members of the target group.
  • The benefit targeting index quantifies benefit targeting performance. The index is computed by comparing the mean LIHEAP benefit for a target group of recipients to the mean LIHEAP benefit for all recipient households.
  • The burden reduction targeting index quantifies burden reduction targeting performance. The index is computed by comparing the percent reduction in the median individual energy burden for a target group of recipients to the percent reduction in the median individual energy burden for all recipients.

Baseline data have been collected for LHEAP recipient households having at least one elderly person or a young child to provide a picture of the current status of recipiency targeting performance across the country.

Prior to the completion of the 2001 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) LIHEAP Supplement, there were no data at the national level sufficient to develop performance measurement statistics for measuring recipiency targeting performance.

DEA completed its LIHEAP Energy Burden Evaluation Study (DOC - 1MB) in July 2005. This study focused on developing baseline performance statistics for targeting to high energy burden households.  In addition, this study presents information that will allow DEA to consider whether benefit and burden reduction targeting performance measurement procedures and statistics should be added to the LIHEAP performance measurement plan.

To see the target and actual recipiency scores for elderly households and young child households, see the Targeting Scores section.

Program Assessment Rating Tool

In July 2002, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) announced development of a tool for evaluating the effectiveness of federal programs. The tool is called the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART). The purpose of PART is to inform and improve agency GPRA plans and reports, and establish a meaningful systematic link between GPRA and the budget process.

The PART is composed of a series of questions designed to provide a consistent approach to rating programs across the Federal government, relying on objective data to assess programs across a range of issues related to performance. The PART also examines factors that the program or agency may not directly control but may be able to influence. For example, if statutory provisions impede effectiveness, legislative changes may be proposed. The formalization of performance assessments through this process is intended to develop defensible and consistent program ratings.

Further background information about PART assessments is available at:

OMB intends to have all federal programs receive PART evaluations within five years. OMB began with assessments and ratings of 234 programs covering approximately 20 percent of the federal budget, followed by publication of the results in the President's FY 2004 Budget. OMB is expanding PART evaluations to an additional 20 percent of federal programs (or budget coverage) each year, along with selected re-evaluations of previously "PARTed" programs when there is reason to believe the rating might be changed.

PART was used in evaluating LIHEAP in the spring of 2004. OMB indicated through PART that results have not been demonstrated for LIHEAP (see LIHEAP PART Report (XLS - 1MB). In addressing this finding, the Administration has included $500,000 in its proposed FY 2006 budget request for a LIHEAP evaluation.

Home Energy Insecurity Scale

Measuring the Outcomes of Low-Income Energy Assistance Programs through a Home Energy Insecurity Scale (DOC - 491KB) was prepared in July 2003 as a developmental tool for those LIHEAP agencies seeking to measure program outcomes for LIHEAP recipients. The Home Energy Insecurity Scale is being used in Georgia's REACH project as an experimental outcome measure.

For more information about the status of the Scale, contact Roger Colton (617) 484-0597

Performance Data

LIHEAP and related data are obtained from LIHEAP grantee reports and surveys, national household surveys, and other federal agencies. (See also Funding, Program Performance and Studies.) The data categories are listed below. Much of the data are published in the Department's LIHEAP Home Energy Notebook and the LIHEAP Report to Congress.


Fiscal data about LIHEAP appropriations can be found under the funding section of this web site.

Each December State LIHEAP grantees are required to report on the LIHEAP Grantee Survey the following data for the previous federal fiscal year:

  • sources of LIHEAP funds,
  • uses of LIHEAP funds,
  • average household benefits for fuel assistance, and
  • maximum income cutoffs chosen by States for 4-person households.

The data from the LIHEAP Grantee Survey are included in the LIHEAP Report to Congress . (The most recent available data are for FY 2003):

Home Energy

LIHEAP assists households with their home energy costs which the LIHEAP statute defines as a source of heating or cooling in residential dwellings.

Begriming in the early 80's, HHS has funded energy assistance questions on the U.S. U.S. Energy Administration's Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS). This national household survey provides a variety of national and regional demographic and energy-related data (such as heat interruptions) on the characteristics of households income eligible for LIHEAP and of households receiving LIHEAP fuel assistance. LIHEAP-related home energy data and analysis are published in the LIHEAP Home Energy Notebook for each fiscal year as part of HHS' LIHEAP Annual Report to Congress. The most recent home energy data are for FY 2003.

The following types of energy-related data are relevant to assessing a household's need for home energy.

The Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration publishes state-level data on energy consumption, prices, and expenditures (SEDS) for 1970-2001.


Data on LIHEAP income eligible and recipient households are obtained from the following sources:

As part of their annual LIHEAP grant application, LIHEAP grantees are to submit their LIHEAP Household Report which includes the following LIHEAP household data for the previous federal fiscal year:
  • the number and income levels of LIHEAP eligible and assisted households;
  • the number of assisted households with at least one or more individuals who are 60 years or older, disabled, or a young child; and
  • the number and income levels of households applying for LIHEAP assistance, not just those households that receive LIHEAP assistance.

Data are available on the number of LIHEAP assisted households, by State, for FY 2003. Additional State-reported date are available in the LIHEAP Report to Congress for FY 2003.

The Current Population Survey (CPS) is a national household sample survey which is conducted monthly by the Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce. Each March the CPS' sample size is supplemented and a number of socio-economic questions are added to the survey. For the last several years, OCS has distributed state-level estimates of LIHEAP income eligible households, based on a 3-year moving CPS average. The latest estimates are for FY 2002.

The Census Bureau's Decennial Census collects every 10 years information on the U.S. population. Special tabulations are available on LIHEAP Income-Eligible Household Counts from the 2000 Decennial Census.

Targeting Scores

The recipiency targeting index quantifies the extent to which such households are receiving LIHEAP assistance. The index is computed by dividing the percent of LIHEAP recipient households that are members of a target group by the percent of all LIHEAP income eligible households that are members of the target group and then multiplying by 100.

For example, if 25 percent of LIHEAP recipients are elderly households, and 20 percent of all income eligible households are elderly households, the recipiency targeting index for elderly recipient households is 125 (25/20 x 100). An index score above 100 indicates that LIHEAP is serving a target group of households at a rate higher than the prevalence of LIHEAP income eligible households that are members of that group. Annual data are unavailable for measuring the targeting of high-energy burden households. For further information on how LIHEAP uses these targets, please refer to the Targeting Indexes section.

The table below reflects the target scores from Fiscal Years (FY) 2004-2009 for households with an elderly member and households with a young child. The table also shows what the actual, national targeting score was for FY 2004-2006.

Long Term Goal: Increase the availability of Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) fuel assistance to low income, vulnerable households, with at least one member that is an elderly individual or a young child to 96 and 122 respectively, by FY 2010, as measured by the annual recipiency targeting index.

Annual Measure FY Target Result
1A. Increase the recipiency targeting index score of LIHEAP households having at least one member 60 years or older. (outcome) 2009 96 Aug-10
2008 96 Aug-9
2007 94 Aug-8
2006 92 74
2005 84 79
2004 82 78
2003 Baseline 79

1B. Maintain the recipiency targeting index score of LIHEAP households having at least one member five years or younger. (outcome)

2009 122 Aug-10
2008 122 Aug-9
2007 122 Aug-8
2006 122 115
2005 122 113
2004 122 115
2003 Baseline 122


Data Source: State LIHEAP Household Report and Census Bureau's Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to the Current Population Survey.

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