Home Energy Assistance Program Application Process Begins Next Week

Modified: November 13, 2015 10:20am

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Date: 
11/12/15

Erie County seal

First Day Applications Will Be Accepted Starting Nov. 16; Residents Encouraged to Apply Online

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Erie County’s Department of Social Services will begin accepting applications for Home Energy Assistance Program regular benefits next week, with county officials anticipating receiving more than 20,000 HEAP applications by the end of December.

“HEAP is a critical program that assists low-income residents with the cost of heating their homes,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “As temperatures drop and energy expenses rise, this program reduces the number of people forced to choose between paying for heat over other essentials such as rent, prescription drugs and putting food on the table. I am proud Erie County can assist families and seniors access these federally-funded benefits.”

Applications will begin being accepted on Monday, November 16. In an effort to expedite the application process and to prevent residents from standing in long lines, HEAP applicants are encouraged to apply for benefits online rather than make a trip to the HEAP office in downtown Buffalo or attend one of the upcoming HEAP outreach events that will be held for residents to sign up for this benefit.

Eligible households whose primary heat is electricity or natural gas can receive a $350 regular benefit.  Households using a different heating source or that have heating costs included as part of their rent may receive a larger or smaller amount.

“With a heavy application day anticipated for next Monday’s opening, we are encouraging residents to save themselves a trip downtown, avoid a long line and wait time, and apply for HEAP benefits online,” said Erie County Department of Social Services Commissioner Al Dirschberger. “Residents with their heat service currently on and without a shutoff notice are advised to apply online at www.mybenefits.ny.gov or by calling the HEAP Application Request Line at 858-1969.”

HEAP outreach events scheduled to assist clients with accesses HEAP benefits include:

  • Monday, November 30: CAO Masten Resource Center, 1423 Fillmore Ave., Buffalo
  • Wednesday, December 2: North West Buffalo Community Center, 155 Lawn Ave., Buffalo
  • Monday, December 7: East Aurora Senior Center, 101 King St., East Aurora
  • Tuesday, December 8: Evans Town Hall, 8787 Erie Road, Angola
  • Wednesday, December 9: Tonawanda Senior Center, 35 Main St., Tonawanda
  • Monday, December 14: Willie Cotton Center, 52 Gates Ave., Lackawanna
  • Wednesday, December 16: George K. Arthur Community Center, 2056 Genesee St., Buffalo

Regular HEAP eligibility and benefits are based on income, household size, primary heating source and the presence of a vulnerable household member who is under age 6, 60 or older, or permanently disabled. An eligible household may receive one regular HEAP benefit per program year.  Households currently receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and/or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits may qualify for an automatic basic HEAP benefit and would not be required to file a separate application. Households may ascertain the status of an AutoPay by calling the HEAP Hotline at 858-7644.

Last season, over 100,000 HEAP benefits were authorized to Erie County households. In order to qualify for a regular HEAP benefit, the members of the household must be citizens of the United States or qualified aliens with gross monthly income at or below the amount per household size listed in the table below: 

2015-2016 HEAP Benefit Gross Monthly Income Guidelines

Household Size

Maximum Gross Monthly Income

Household Size

Maximum Gross Monthly Income

1

$2,244

6

$5,697

2

$2,935

7

$5,826

3

$3,625

8

$5,956

4

$4,316

9

$6,085

5

$5,006

10

$6,215

 

The Heating Equipment Repair and Replacement benefit component, available to help eligible low-income homeowners repair or replace furnaces, boilers and other direct heating equipment necessary to keep the home’s primary heating source functional, opened on November 9, 2015. HEAP Emergency Benefits for households whose main source of heat is natural gas or electricity can be applied for beginning January 4, 2016.

 

For more information:

Visit the Erie County Department of Social Services at http://www2.erie.gov/socialservices/