HEAP - Home Energy Assistance Program

2013 - 2014


Erie County Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP):

478 Main Street: 1st Floor

Buffalo, NY 14202

 HEAP Hotline: 858-7644
HEAP Office Hours 8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.

Erie County 2013-14 Home Energy Assistance Program

HEAP is federally funded assistance with home heating costs and energy conservation for eligible households. Program components include benefit assistance for heat and electricity, furnace repair, weatherization referral, and cooling assistance (in summer months-based on medical necessity).

* The HEAP Cooling Assistance Component, which became available May 1, will end for the season at the close of business on Thursday, June 26, 2014. *

We will accept in person applications until 4 p.m. that day, and mailed in applications with a post mark on or before June 26. If we receive an application before closing that requires further documentation, we will permit 10 days for submission. Please see below for guidelines and documentation requirements.

Eligible households will receive installation of one (1) window air conditioner. Funding for HEAP components is limited and cooling assistance is provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

Eligibility Requirements:


How to Apply:

Approved households will be provided a list of qualified contractors in our area who have a contract with NYS to install air conditioning units. HEAP will notify the chosen vendor of program eligibility. The vendor will then contact the client to set up an appointment.

HEAP- Hotline -

The HEAP Hotline at 858-7644 is available year-round to provide information about:

HEAP- Benefit assistance with Heating and Electricity costs:

March 14, 2014 was the closing date for the Regular HEAP Benefit. The Regular benefit is for a household’s main source of heat.

March 17, 2014 was the closing date for Emergency HEAP Benefits.

There are two Emergency benefits available, one for a household’s main source of heat (if service is off, or if there is a shut-off notice or low fuel supply), and one for “heat-related” electric (if electricity is needed to run heating equipment, thermostat, furnace fan, etc.).

For emergency assistance, clients are encouraged to visit the HEAP Office at 478 Main Street, Buffalo, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., or call the HEAP Hotline at 858-7644.

For Regular HEAP, applicants may apply by mail, in person or online via MyBenefits.ny.gov

A mail-in application may be requested by calling the HEAP Application Request line at 858-1969.

Or, see below for a printable application.

Click here for a Printable HEAP Application.

Click here for Application Instructions.

Or, clients may apply for Regular HEAP electronically by visiting: MyBenefits.NY.gov 

1. Early Access and SNAP or TA Auto Pay for Regular HEAP

2. Regular HEAP

3. Emergency HEAP 

4. How to apply for HEAP 

5. Documentation Requirements: Regular HEAP 

6. Documentation Requirements: Emergency HEAP 

7. Subsidized Rent & HEAP Eligibility 

8. Wage Calculation 

9. Countable & Excluded Resources 

10. HERR & other furnace Assistance, Weatherization Assistance Program, EmPower NY, Lifeline 

11. Other assistance if HEAP benefits are exhausted or program is closed

HEAP Income Guidelines 2013 – 2014; Monthly Household Gross Income Cannot Exceed: 


Household Size


Gross Monthly Income
























1. Early Access and SNAP or TA Auto Pay for Regular HEAP:

Early Access:

Households that received HEAP last season and have a senior citizen, disabled individual, or child age 5 or younger may have received an Early Access application in September 2013.

The only documentation required for an early access application is copies of earned income, if any (last 4 weeks proof of wages -pay stubs). Applicants who received HEAP last season are not required to submit proof of Social Security, SSD, workers comp, unemployment, utility bills, or proof of residency.

Households who believe they should have received an Early Access application but did not, or who need to replace a lost or damaged application, may call the HEAP Hotline at 858-7644 for assistance.

SNAP or TA Auto Pay:

Households currently receiving SNAP (Supplementatal Nutrition Assistance Program) or Temporary Assistance may qualify for an Auto-Pay HEAP benefit that will be processed and credited automatically to heating bills in December or January. Households wishing to check the status of an Auto-Pay may call the HEAP hotline at 858-7644. If household missed the Auto-Pay, they may submit a HEAP application for processing prior to season opening.

Early Access and Auto-Pay eligibility notices will be mailed in December, and benefits should appear as a credit on December or January heating bills. HEAP can notify heating suppliers of these benefits beginning November 18, 2013. If necessary, the approval may restore service, or create a 30-day hold from termination of service, or result in a delivery of fuel.

2. Regular HEAP benefit:

Regular HEAP for household’s main source of heat is available beginning November 18, 2013.

Gas and Electric benefits appear as a credit on bill about 60 days after approval. Oil, propane, wood, pellets, and coal benefits produce a delivery of fuel totaling benefit amount.

Household does not need a shut-off notice or low fuel to receive Regular HEAP.

30-day “hold” is placed on heat account if benefit is approved.

If there is a shut-off notice, service will not be shut off during that 30 days and utility company will not seek collection for the portion of the total bill equaling the benefit amount.

If service is Off, benefit approval may restore service depending on total amount owed

There is no resource test for Regular HEAP; HEAP will not examine household’s savings or checking accounts etc.

Regular HEAP Benefit Amounts:

$400 base benefit- Natural Gas or Electric Heat

$600 base benefit- Deliverable fuel (i.e. oil, propane, kerosene)

$500 base benefit- Deliverable fuel (wood, coal, etc.)

Add on $25- Add an additional $25 to base benefit if Household has Tier 1 income

Add on $25- Add an additional $25 to base benefit if there is a child age 5 or under OR an adult over the age of 60 OR disabled individual in Household

“Renter’s Benefit” for Heat Included in Rent:

If Heat costs are included in Rent (NON SUBSIDIZED RENT ONLY), benefit amount is based on household income:

If Heat is included in Rent, and Rent is subsidized, household is not eligible for Regular HEAP.

3. Emergency HEAP: (Shutoff Notice or Low Fuel Supply is Required)

Emergency HEAP benefits became available January 2, 2014.

One Emergency “Heat-Related” electricity benefit is available- If there is a shut-off notice and electric is needed to run furnace or thermostat, and is not main source of heat.

One Emergency “Heating” benefit, for main source of heat is available- If there is a shut-off notice or low fuel supply & Regular benefit was already received.

There is a Resource Test for Emergency HEAP:

Household may have no more than $2,000 (or $3,000 for a household with a member age 60 or older) in available liquid resources ($$ in savings, checking, stocks, bonds, CDs, IRAs, 401k). Monthly living expenses in savings are not counted and are determined on a case-by-case basis. Countable (liquid) and Excluded Resources are listed below.

Emergency HEAP Benefit Amounts:

4. How to Apply for HEAP: EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 18, 2013

If Service is OFF, or household is OUT of heating fuel:


If Service is ON, but household has a current shut-off notice or low supply (less than ¼ tank) of heating fuel:

If Service is ON, with NO shut-off notice and NO low-fuel supply:

**An authorized representative may apply on behalf of individuals unable to appear at HEAP or unable to call the HEAP hotline. A signed and dated note from the applicant authorizing the individual to apply on their behalf is required.

5. Documentation Requirements for Regular HEAP:

1.      If Household is receiving TA or SNAP:

Many active TA or SNAP households have Regular HEAP calculated and sent to heating supplier automatically (Auto-Pay). No application for Regular HEAP is required for these households. If Auto-Pay is not received, a HEAP application must be submitted with a current utility bill.

To check the status of an Auto-Pay- HEAP Hotline 858-7644.

To request a HEAP Application- Application Request Line: 858-1969.

2.      If Household is not receiving TA or SNAP & received HEAP assistance last season:

A completed and signed HEAP application & the following Documentation are required:


* Proof of UNEARNED Income is NOT Required (Social Security, Pension, Unemployment, Workers Comp, Disability, etc.)If you moved or there are new members in your Household, you must document those changes.

  1. If Household is not receiving TA or SNAP & did not receive HEAP assistance last season:
  1. Proof of GROSS income received within the last 30 days for all household members
  2. Wages: If paid weekly, last 4 paystubs
  3. Wages: If paid bi-weekly, last 2 paystubs
  4. Award letters- if Applicable for Social Security, Pension, Unemployment, Workers Comp, Disability, etc.
  5. Yearly statement of interest received (savings, checking, CDs, money market account, etc.)
  6. Dividend proof (stocks, bonds securities, etc.)
  7. Social Security Numbers for all household Members
  8. One (1) form of ID for all household members (Birth Cert. OR SS Card OR Driver’s License OR School ID, etc.)
  9. Proof of Residency (Mortgage proof or Rent/Lease information)
  10. Current Utility Bills (Heat & Electric)

6. Documentation Requirements for Emergency HEAP:

If Household received a Regular HEAP benefit this season:

If Household did not receive a Regular benefit this season:

Applicant may apply for Emergency for “heat-related” electric, and Regular benefit for main source of heat simultaneously, and must provide all documentation for Regular & Emergency HEAP.

7. Subsidized Rent & HEAP Eligibility:

If household receives Government Rental Assistance (Section 8, Belmont, etc.):

If household pays directly for “Heat Related Electric:**

8. Wage Calculation for HEAP Applications:

HEAP calculates all wages using these formulas:

9. Liquid (countable) & Excluded (not countable) Resources for Emergency HEAP

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 property 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)

· Although a household is not required to obtain a non-utility fuel delivery on a credit basis, those households who have sufficient resources to pay for the delivery may be required to obtain the delivery and make payment when the resources can be accessed.

10. Heating Equipment Repair or Replacement (HERR) and other furnace Assistance, Weatherization Assistance Program, EmPower NY, Lifeline

  1. 1.      HERR

**HERR assistance closed for the season on 1/31/14**

HERR may assist HEAP-eligible homeowners, who have minimal financial resources, with the cost of repair or replacement of essential heating equipment (furnace, boiler, etc.).

To apply, HOMEOWNER or authorized representative* must apply in person with ALL necessary documentation. *An authorized representative is permitted to apply on behalf of homeowner, but must provide a statement signed by the homeowner. Reasonable accommodations will be explored for homebound applicants to assist with application requirements.

HERR Documentation Requirements:






Other furnace Assistance (if HERR is closed):

National Fuel Emergency Heating Repair or Replacement Program

Erie County Emergency Aid for Families/Adults:

Home Performance w/ Energy Star- People United for Sustainable Housing (PUSH)

 2.      Weatherization Assistance: 

Home Performance w/ Energy Star- PUSH Buffalo

Low-interest loan/grant through NYS, for Energy Related home improvements, may be up to 50% subsidized with a grant for eligible households. Loan can be paid “on bill” (equaling cost saved each month on energy bills based on installed measures).

Contact 884-0356 for details

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP):

HEAP Eligible Households qualify for WAP. NO COST home weatherization services and energy conservation improvements: Attic and wall insulation, weather stripping, caulking, testing of furnace, other minor energy conserving home repairs.

If Head of Household is 60 or older:

If Head of Household is under 60:

Renters may apply for Weatherization assistance, though Landlord may be asked to contribute 25% towards costs, unless Landlord is also HEAP-eligible.

EmPower NY:

NO COST assistance for HEAP eligible households, funded through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Eligibility is based, in part, on gas and/or electric usage. Not all applicants will qualify for assistance.

Services may include:

  1. 3.      Telephone Discount:

LifeLine Program: Low-cost telephone service:

11. Other assistance if HEAP benefits are exhausted or program is closed

Program Availability is subject to funding and these programs are generally not open year-round.       

National Fuel “Neighbor for Neighbor” heating bill assistance (All heat source types):

 “Care and Share” Electric Bill assistance:

Emergency Aid for Families through Erie County (EAF) – 478 Main Street 6th floor, Buffalo

Emergency Aid for Adults (EAA)- 478 Main Street 6th floor, Buffalo

Erie County Emergency Assistance to request placement in a temporary shelter:

Report to Erie County Emergency Housing Unit, 158 Pearl Street, Buffalo, Monday- Friday, between 8 a.m.-4 p.m. OR call Erie County Crisis Services at 834-3131, after 4 p.m., or during the weekend.