As fall and cooler weather begins to arrive in New York State, it's quickly becoming time to prepare for cooler weather to turn into cold weather.
That cold weather will cause all of us to turn our furnaces and fireplaces up and with all of the recent increases in heating fuel prices, that undoubtedly means some huge winter bills are on the way
While there are plenty of things that we can do to help reduce the sting of a huge heating bill this winter, not everyone is going to be able to afford their bill going up by double, or more.
Luckily for us, officials from the New York State 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 Tuesday, November 1, 2022, 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 do qualify and are approved for benefits, funds can be paid directly to your energy supplier to ensure that your services are maintained. If you think you qualify, you should submit your application as soon as possible. Funding for the program is limited and may run out, so time is of the essence.
What Else Can Be Done
In addition to applying for HEAP benefits, there are plenty of steps 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 help making repairs to your heating system this year. You can click here for more information about the Heating Equipment Repair and Replacement Program (HERR).