We’ve been fortunate to experience quite a few warm days this fall, but New York’s cold winter weather is coming, and that means turning up our thermostats and shouldering the high costs of heating our homes. For those who fall within certain income guidelines, the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is here to help pay those expensive energy bills.
HEAP is a federally funded program providing relief to those who struggle to afford the cost of heat. Whether you own or rent your home, you can apply for direct benefits to help cover the costs of electricity, propane, natural gas, wood, oil, kerosene, coal or other heating fuels. Repair, replacement and emergency benefits are also available if your home heating equipment is in danger of failing.
Eligibility for HEAP relies on numerous factors, including income, household size, primary heating source and whether a member of the household is under the age of 6, over the age of 60 or permanently disabled. However, this season, a household of four could earn up to $51,792 per year and still qualify for a one-time benefit of up to $625 to help heat their home.
Last year, more than 1.4 million households received HEAP benefits. Enrollment for this winter is now open, so if you anticipate difficulty paying your heating bills I encourage you to contact the Suffolk County Department of Social Services at 631-853-8825, the Suffolk County Office of the Aging (for applicants age 60 or older) at 631-853-8326, or mybenefits.ny.gov/ to apply for assistance. To learn more, you can also visit otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/ or call 1-800-342-3009.
As the rising cost of heating our homes makes it difficult for East End households to make ends meet, it’s essential that we ensure working families as well as elderly New Yorkers have the resources they need to stave off the harsh winter weather.