JOE ROBACH OFFICE ANNOUNCES $50 MILLION IN ADDITIONAL HEAP ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE FOR LOW-INCOME FAMILIES

The Federal Government has released additional Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funding, increasing New York’s total for the 2013-14 heating season to more than $366 million. The additional funding will enable New York to continue operating the regular benefit component of the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) into February.

HEAP is a federally funded program that is administered through the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). HEAP assists low-income New Yorkers with the cost of heating their homes. HEAP also offers an emergency benefit for households in a heat or heat related energy emergency. Regular HEAP benefits assist households that pay a high proportion of household income for energy. The Regular Benefit of the 2013-14 HEAP season opens November 18, 2013. The HEAP emergency benefit component assists qualifying low-income New Yorkers who are facing a heat or heat related energy emergency and do not have resources above the established limits. The Emergency benefit component of the 2013-14 HEAP season opens January 2, 2014. If you have an emergency, Joe Robach encourages you to contact a local department of social services office.

“There is no arguing that the recent extreme cold weather has taken a financial toll on households,” Joe Robach said. “This additional funding will help eligible New Yorkers this season, and I urge those in need of assistance to apply as soon as possible.”

Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released $454 million in LIHEAP funding to states, providing an additional $50.6 million for New York. That brings New York’s total for the 2013-14 HEAP season to $366.8 million.

Eligible households in New York may receive one regular HEAP benefit per season and could also be eligible for an emergency benefit if they are in impending danger of running out of fuel or having their utility service shut off. More than 1.3 million households have already received HEAP assistance this winter.

Anyone living outside of New York City who is seeking a regular HEAP benefit can submit an application online at myBenefits.ny.gov. Those who need emergency assistance, or live in New York City, should contact their local department of social services. New Yorkers can find contact information for their local social services department at http://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/HEAP-contacts.pdf.

Joe Robach went on to describe how this massive release of $50.6 million in federal funding to New York will provide critical relief to residents and senior citizens who were being forced to choose between heating their homes, offices and putting food on the table. With record-breaking freezes occurring in New York and across the country, Joe Robach is thrilled that the feds have released this funding to New York for immediate use this winter.

Joe Robach explained that because this has been a usually harsh winter that many families may find themselves unable to keep up with their energy bills. It would be unconscionable to allow them to struggle when we have the resources to relieve the financial strain. The Low Income Heating Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is an essential program for financially strapped families and the release of these funds will ensure the program remains open as this harsh winter continues.”

Joe Robach also encourages residents who are having trouble getting information on HEAP to contact his district office at 585.225.3650 for assistance.

For more information about HEAP, visit otda.ny.gov/programs/heap.