Tonawanda News — Those who require financial assistance to get through the coldest months of the year will be able to apply for federal funding early next week.
The New York State Home Energy Assistance Program will begin accepting applications for regular benefits on Monday for low-income and elderly residents, according to the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, which oversees the process.
The federally funded program, better know by its acronym, HEAP, is available to eligible households in meeting energy needs.
“Rising energy prices and colder temperatures will make it even harder for many low-income families and senior citizens on fixed incomes to afford their heating bills this winter,” said OTDA Executive Deputy Commissioner Elizabeth Berlin. “HEAP will provide sorely-needed assistance to over one million New York State households, enabling them to keep their heat on when the cold weather sets in.”
This winter, the maximum regular HEAP benefit a household can receive is $650. Eligibility for HEAP is based on income and household size. For instance, a family of four can have a household income of $49,333 a year and still qualify for a HEAP benefit.
Eligible households can receive one regular HEAP benefit per season, but may also be eligible for an emergency HEAP benefit if they are in danger of running out of fuel or having their utility service shut off. Applications for emergency HEAP benefits will be accepted beginning January 2, 2013.
Applicants are encouraged to apply early, as HEAP benefits are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications for regular benefits will be accepted through at least March 15, 2013.
New York residents can check if they may be eligible for HEAP, and numerous other benefits, by answering a few questions online at myBenefits.ny.gov.
Last winter, 1.5 million households received HEAP benefits.