Fall is in full swing, and with winter well on its way to New York, the time to make sure you are prepared for the cooler weather to turn into cold weather is quickly approaching.
While some of us haven't turned our heat on yet, the time to do so is near, and before you know it, we'll all be switching our furnaces and fireplaces on and turning up the temperatures. While heating costs are expected to decrease some this year, there's little doubt we're going to have some major heating bills to deal with this year.
Now, while we can do all sorts of things to help reduce the sting of getting a huge heating bill this winter, not everyone will be able to afford their bills with the state of poverty and the economy in New York.
Fortunately for people who live in the Empire State, government officials from the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance have announced that the famed HEAP program will be opening soon for applications for heating assistance.
What Is HEAP and What Does HEAP Do?
HEAP, which stands for the Home Energy Assistance Program (and sometimes referred to as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or LIHEAP), was created in the 1980s to help low-to-moderate income individuals and families afford increasingly unaffordable heating and cooling costs, with the ultimate goal to help prevent potential health and safety issues that come from not having heat in the winter and cooling in the summer.
In New York State, residents may be eligible to receive financial assistance if they meet income and other guidelines. Residents may also be eligible for a 2nd emergency HEAP payment of financial assistance if they are in danger of running out of fuel or having their utility services shut off.
HEAP can help pay for Electricity, Natural Gas, Oil, Coal, Propane, Wood, Kerosene, Corn, or other types of heating/cooling fuel.
When Does HEAP Open For Applications?
HEAP opens this year on Wednesday, November 1, 2023, statewide, and eligible people are able to begin submitting their applications for assistance in person or online.
To qualify for assistance, the following requirements need to be met, according to New York State officials:
- A member of your household is a United States Citizen or qualified alien
- Your household's gross monthly income is at or below the current income guides for your household size as posted in the table below or
- You receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or
- You receive Temporary Assistance or
- You receive Code A Supplemental Security Income (SSI Living Alone)
If you qualify and are approved for assistance, the money is paid straight to the energy company to ensure that it is maintained or restored. If you think you qualify, you should send in your application as soon as possible since funding for our state programs is always limited.
What Else Is Out There To Help New Yorkers This Winter?
Using HEAP benefits to pay your heating costs isn't the only thing that you can do or apply for. There are plenty of things that we New Yorkers can take to help reduce our heating costs. You can check here for a list of energy-saving ideas that may help this winter.
The state also offers assistance if you need to repair or replace your entire heating system. You can click here for more information about the Heating Equipment Repair and Replacement Program (HERR).
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