Frequently Asked Questions

Can I receive assistance in another language?

The Erie County Department of Social Services assists non-English speaking clients by offering free language services, including utilization of qualified interpreters and information written in other languages. For a full overview of language and other services offered by Erie County, Click Here.


How does HEAP calculate wages?

HEAP calculates monthly wages using these formulas:

  • Paid Weekly - (4 x Weekly gross)/4) x 4.3333
  • Paid Bi-Weekly - (2 x bi-weekly gross)/2 x 2.1666
  • Paid Bi-Monthly - (add 2 gross pay amounts- no other calculation)

For Emergency HEAP, what resources are countable?


Countable (these are counted for Emergency HEAP resource test):

  • Cash.
  • Checking and/or savings account balances.
  • Stocks/bonds.
  • Time deposit certificates/
  • IRA accounts, including remaining amounts from a closed-out IRA.
  • Lump sums from sale of property or insurance settlements and balances from any other lump sum not specifically excluded.
  • 401(k) and other retirement accounts.
  • income tax refunds (except EITC) payments).
  • Any other available funds not specifically excluded.

Excluded: (these are not counted for Emergency HEAP resource test):

  • Amounts designated for an allowable current monthly living expense such as food, shelter, employment-related expenses, etc.
  • Money earmarked for payment of the current year's prioperty and/or school taxes for the primary residence.
  • One burial plot per household member.
  • One written pre-arranged burial agreement with a cash value not exceeding $1,500 per household member and interest on the burial account.
  • Accounts, such as PASS accounts, designated by the Social Security Administration as exempt from SSI resource limits.
  • Real and personal property.
  • Equipment.
  • Automobiles and other vehicles.
  • Payments from reverse annuity mortgages.
  • Loans (including college loans, personal loans, home equity loans).
  • Credit cards or advances from credit cards.
  • Individual Development Accounts (IDA).