New York’s Home Energy Assistance Program Opens Today — Here’s How To Apply
New York residents who need help heating their homes this winter can now apply for the state’s Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which provides financial assistance with heating bills and related expenses.
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The 2022-2023 Regular HEAP benefit opened on Nov. 1, according to the program’s website. If you are eligible for the program, you can receive one regular HEAP benefit per program year. You might also be eligible for emergency HEAP benefits if you’re at risk of running out of fuel or having your utility service shut off.
HEAP is available to eligible residents who heat their homes with a variety of sources, including electricity, natural gas, oil, coal, propane, wood/wood pellets, kerosene and corn. Eligibility and benefits are based on income, household size, primary heating source and the presence of a household member who is under age 6, aged 60 or older, or permanently disabled.
Base benefits begin at $21 for eligible households that live in government subsidized housing or a group home setting with heat included in the rent. Benefits can range as high as $976 for eligible households whose primary heat is oil, kerosene or propane, and who make direct payments to the vendor for heating costs.
According to Newsday, HEAP benefits increased 33% this year from last year for households that heat with oil, kerosene or propane; 14% for households that heat with electricity or natural gas; and 21% for households that heat with wood, wood pellets, coal or corn.
Regular benefits for households that pay directly for heat based on actual usage are paid directly to the vendor that supplies the household’s primary source of heat. To find a participating vendor, visit the HEAP participating vendor list.
To be eligible for the Regular benefit, a member of your household must be a U.S. citizen or qualified alien. You might also be eligible if you meet one of the following criteria:
- Your household’s gross monthly income is at or below the current income guides for your household size.
- You receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
- You receive Temporary Assistance.
- You receive Code A Supplemental Security Income (SSI Living Alone)
The emergency benefit program is scheduled to open on Jan. 3, 2023. Eligibility for emergency benefits is based on income, available resources, and the type of emergency. If you have an emergency you must contact your HEAP Local District Contact for assistance. Assistance cannot be provided on the website.
Many residents might need heating bill assistance this winter amid a shortage of oil and gas tied to supply-chain problems and the war in Ukraine. Mark Wolfe, executive director of the National Energy Assistance Directors Association, told Newsday that in the Northeastern U.S., bills for those heating with oil will rise about 25% this year vs. last year, while those heating with natural gas should expect a 28% increase.
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“The bottom line is that the cost of home energy will be very expensive this year and unaffordable for many,” Wolfe said. For more information on HEAP benefits and eligibility requirements, visit the HEAP website.
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