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New York's Home Energy Assistance Program Application Period is Now Open

Aid is available for households that qualify and need assistance paying their energy bills.

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The Public Utility Law Project of New York (“PULP”) and AARP New York remind low- and fixed-income New Yorkers that the Home Energy Assistance Program (“HEAP”) application cycle opened on October 1, 2021--a month earlier than usual. More than 2,000,000 New York households were eligible for HEAP benefits in 2020, but less than half received help.

HEAP assists low-income homeowners and renters with their heating costs during the cold winter months. The regular benefit can help residents pay for heat whether they use electricity or natural gas from a utility company, or oil, coal, propane, wood, wood pellets, or kerosene. Eligible applicants may receive up to $751 in heating assistance depending on their income, household size, and how they heat their home. A family of four may have a maximum gross monthly income of $5,249 or an annual gross income of $62,983 and still qualify for benefits, a modest increase from last year.

“For many low- and fixed-income New Yorkers, the cost of heating a home is a significant strain on their monthly budgets. And with the cost of natural gas, fuel oil and propane expected to spike this winter, HEAP will be a lifeline for those individuals and families,” said Richard Berkley, Executive Director of the Public Utility Law Project of New York (“PULP”). “I encourage all financially and medically vulnerable residents to apply for HEAP as soon as possible.”

“With cold weather already reaching much of New York, HEAP can be a literal life-saver for older New Yorkers,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel. “Now is the time to make sure people who need this assistance can get it—and get it as quickly as possible. HEAP effectively and efficiently provides much-needed help to New York’s most vulnerable families, almost 70 percent of whom have at least one member who is elderly, disabled, or have a child under the age of six.”

With a record number of New Yorkers behind on their energy utility bills, the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (“OTDA”) recently announced the Regular Arrears Supplemental Benefit, a one-time benefit of up to $10,000 to help homeowners and tenants become current on their electric and gas bills. Additionally, for households that receive a termination notice or are in danger of running out of fuel, a one-time Emergency HEAP grant will become available on January 3rd, 2022, to help consumers pay down arrears and get current on their utility bills.

If you are behind on your energy bills now, remember that you can self-certify to financial harm from COVID and receive a grace period extending up to December 21 within which you can repair your finances and/or negotiate a deferred payment agreement with the utility.

Funding is limited for HEAP. New Yorkers can find more information by calling 1 (800) 342-3009 or by visiting the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance website at: https://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/#overview. In New York City, call 311 to ask for more information and apply for HEAP. To apply, use the mybenefits.ny.gov portal.

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