Translator Disclaimers
The State of New Jersey created the Universal Service Fund (USF) program to help make energy bills more affordable for low income customers. The goal of the USF program is to help ensure that income eligible New Jersey utility customers pay no more than 6% of their annual income for their natural gas and electric service combined. Households with income equal to or less than 175% of the Federal Poverty Level are income eligible. The program is administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.

Q. How much money will I receive from USF?

If you are found eligible for USF, you will receive a USF credit on your utility bill.. The amount of the credit is different for each eligible customer, depending on how much of your income you spend on energy. The USF benefit is designed to help you pay no more than the target amount of 3% on your natural gas bill alone and no more than the target amount of 3% on your electric bill alone (or, if you heat with electricity, no more than 6% of your income on electricity).  The USF credit is capped at $1,800 for both electric and gas combined.

Q. Does the USF benefit take into account that energy prices may increase during the year?

Yes. A customer's energy burden is calculated using an adjustment for any anticipated changes in energy prices in the coming year. [KI1] 

Q. How do I apply for USF?

You can apply for USF and LIHEAP at the same time by completing a single USF/LIHEAP application. However, if you complete this application during the time when LIHEAP is not accepting applications (typically April 1 through October 21), then you will only be screened for USF. You will then have to complete the application again during the following LIHEAP application period (typically November 1 through March 31) when you will be screened for both LIHEAP and USF benefits.

You can obtain and file an application at your local LIHEAP/USF application agency. To locate the agency in your area, call 1-800-510-3102. Additional information, including the application which you can download, is also available at

Please note: if you receive Food Stamps, your Food Stamp application is also your LIHEAP application and your USF application. Therefore, Food Stamp customers almost never need to complete the separate USF-LIHEAP application.[KI2] 

Q. How will I know if I am going to get a benefit?

You will be notified by the Department of Community Affairs (DCA). If you are eligible, you will receive a notice from DCA with your benefit amount.  If you are found ineligible, you will receive a notice telling you why your application was denied. This notice will include information on how to request a review if you believe your denial was in error.   A separate notice will be sent about eligibility for each benefit: natural gas and  electric.

Q. If I heat with oil or propane will I be eligible for USF benefits?

Expenses for oil or propane are not eligible for USF benefits. However, any expenses you have for electric and/or gas utility service could potentially be eligible for a USF benefit.


Q. If I rent, will I be covered under USF?

Yes. Renters and homeowners are both eligible for USF. Even if your heat is included in your rent, you may be eligible for USF if you have an electric or natural gas account in your name.

Q. Does everyone who receives Lifeline or LIHEAP qualify for a USF benefit?

No. All LIHEAP recipients and many Lifeline recipients meet the income eligibility criteria for USF. However, USF eligibility is also based on how much you pay for energy each year. Some LIHEAP and Lifeline recipients might not meet this eligibility requirement. If you receive LIHEAP or Lifeline, but you pay less than 3% of your household income for electricity and less than 3% for natural gas, you will not receive a USF benefit.

For more information about USF, please go to or call toll free at: 1-866-240-1347