The State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) today announced that New York State’s Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) will open for the season on Wednesday, November 16. HEAP provides assistance to help low-income and elderly New Yorkers keep their homes warm in the winter months.
“As the cold weather approaches, so do higher energy bills, leaving many New Yorkers looking for help to cover these costs,” said OTDA Executive Deputy Commissioner Elizabeth Berlin. “With heating oil prices significantly higher than a year ago, HEAP is providing vital assistance to the many individuals and families who may have difficulty affording the cost of heating their homes this winter.”
HEAP is a federally-funded program administered through OTDA to help eligible households in meeting their home energy needs.
This winter, the maximum regular HEAP benefit a household can receive is $500. Eligibility is based on income and household size. For example, a family of four can have a household income of up to $49,519 annually and still qualify for a HEAP benefit.
Income eligible households in New York can receive one regular HEAP benefit per season and could also be eligible for an emergency benefit if they are in impending danger of running out of fuel or having their utility service shut off. Applications for emergency benefits will be accepted beginning January 3, 2012.
“We know that tens of thousands of households, including some of our most vulnerable residents, count on HEAP to help them get through these difficult months,” Berlin said. “This program will once again provide some relief for low-income working families, as well as senior citizens who are on a fixed income.”
Applicants are encouraged to apply early, as HEAP benefits are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. March 16, 2012, will be the last day for accepting applications for regular HEAP benefits.
New York residents can also check to see if they may be eligible for HEAP, and numerous other benefits, by answering a few questions privately online at myBenefits.ny.gov.
Last winter, more than 1.4 million households received HEAP benefits.