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NY makes more HEAP funds available

Staff Reports Posted 10 March 2015 at 12:00 am

Applications will be accepted through March 27

New York residents 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, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced today.

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,” Gov. 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. The state made an emergency round of funding available in January and now has added a second emergency benefit if residents find themselves in a crisis situation. Applications for regular and emergency HEAP benefits will be accepted through Friday, March 27.

Orleans County residents should call the Department of Social Services at 589-3182 to inquire about HEAP, with senior citizens (ages 60 and older) calling the Office for the Aging at 589-3191.

“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,” said Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Executive Deputy Commissioner Sharon Devine. “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.