The office of Joe Robach announced this week that those 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 (HEAP). The additional assistance is being made available in light of the prolonged cold weather and additional federal funding awarded to the state.
The severe winter this year has left many families struggling to pay their heating bills. “That is why this second round of emergency assistance is so important and will help people stay warm and safe through the end of the season,” Joe Robach said in a press release issued by his office. This extra funding will be a crucial form of support for families across the state, and residents who may need help affording their heating bills are encouraged to reach out to HEAP 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. Households that have already received a regular benefit and an emergency benefit can now apply for a second emergency benefit if they find themselves in a crisis situation. Applications for regular and emergency HEAP benefits will be accepted through Friday, March 27.
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.
So far this winter, a total of nearly 1.4 million HEAP benefits have been issued, including more than 75,000 emergency HEAP benefits.
For more information about the Home Energy Assistance Program, Joe Robach encourages residents to call the office hotline at 1-800-342-3009. New Yorkers can find contact information for their county department of social services at http://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/HEAP-contacts.pdf.