Due to prolonged cold weather, additional home heating assistance is available through HEAP

Applications For HEAP Accepted Through March 27

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that those in danger of running out of heating fuel or having their utility service shut off can now apply for a second emergency benefit through the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). The additional assistance is being made available in light of the prolonged cold weather and additional federal funding awarded to the state.

“This year’s severe winter has left many families struggling to pay their heating bills – but a second round of emergency assistance will help people stay warm and safe through the end of the season,” Governor Cuomo said. “This extra funding will be a crucial form of support for families across the state, and I encourage anyone who may need help affording their heating bills to reach out to us today.”

Normally, eligible households can receive one regular HEAP benefit per season and could also be eligible for a single emergency HEAP benefit if they face an energy emergency situation. Households that have already received a regular benefit and an emergency benefit can now apply for a second emergency benefit if they find themselves in a crisis situation. Applications for regular and emergency HEAP benefits will be accepted through Friday, March 27.

Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Executive Deputy Commissioner Sharon Devine said, “Another harsh winter has wreaked havoc on household budgets and we’ve heard from our local partners that senior citizens and the elderly have been particularly hard hit. It’s important that households facing an emergency situation know that help is still available but they need to contact their local department of social services to apply.”

HEAP is 100-percent federally funded and New York State has received a total of $377 million in federal HEAP funding for the 2014-15 season, including a late-winter release of $33.3 million. Emergency benefit amounts vary depending on the emergency, up to a maximum of $575.

Eligibility varies based on income and household size. For the 2014-15 HEAP season, a household of four can earn up to $50,629 a year, or $4,219 a month, and still qualify for assistance.

Congresswoman Nita Lowey said, “No one should be left in the cold. I’m pleased these federal funds are available to families in need, and I will continue to work with the Governor to ensure Lower Hudson Valley households stay warm through harsh winters.”

Congressman Eliot Engel said, “This winter has been particularly brutal, and those in danger of running out of heating fuel are in dire straits. I applaud Governor Cuomo for initiating this second emergency benefit through the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) for eligible households, as it will make a huge difference for the New Yorkers who really need the help.”

Congressman Paul Tonko said, “During extreme cold and snow, too many New York families are faced with the impossible decision between paying for heat or paying for other essentials like medicine, food, or clothing. I thank Governor Cuomo for recognizing this urgent need in the Capital Region and across our entire state. The decision to extend this program through the last weeks of winter will make life a little easier for the most vulnerable members of our community, allowing them to heat their homes without skipping the most basic of needs.”

So far this winter, a total of nearly 1.4 million HEAP benefits have been issued, including more than 75,000 emergency HEAP benefits.

For more information about the Home Energy Assistance Program, please call the hotline at 1-800-342-3009, or visit http://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/. New Yorkers can find contact information for their county department of social services at http://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/HEAP-contacts.pdf.

Author: Harlem Valley News