HEAP - Home Energy Assistance Program

2016 - 2017

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 2016-17 Home Energy Assistance Program Guide

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 or replacement, weatherization referral, and cooling assistance (in summer months-based on medical necessity).

Beginning Monday, November 14, 2016one regular HEAP benefit is available for a household's main source of heat.

Beginning January 3, 2017HEAP Emergency benefits are available for the main source of heat, and for heat-related electric (electric that is necessary to operate the furnace, thermostat, etc.).

Please see section 4 below for ways to apply for benefit assistance when Regular HEAP opens November 14, 2016. 

Clients with heat service off are encouraged to report to HEAP for assistance on or after November 14, 2016.

Clients with a shut-off notice are encouraged to call the HEAP hotline at 858-7644 for information. The client may or may not need to report for assistance.

Clients with service on and no shut-off notice are encouraged to apply by mail. 

To apply:

Request an application online by clicking this link: http://www2.erie.gov/socialservices/index.php?q=heap-application-request


Call the HEAP Application Request Line at 858-1969


Click Here to download a printable application on the state's Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance website; click Here for instructions on how to apply.  


Apply online by visiting www.mybenefits.ny.gov

HEAP Furnace Repair or Replacement Assistance is available beginning November 7, 2016. This component does not help with bills, only with furnaces.

HEAP Heating Equipment Clean and Tune Assistance is available beginning August 1, 2016. The program will close November 4, 2016, or sooner if funding is exhausted.

1. Early Outreach and SNAP or TA AutoPay 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 2016 – 2017; Monthly Household Gross Income Cannot Exceed: 

Household Size

Gross Monthly Income
























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

Early Outreach:

Households that received HEAP last season and have a senior citizen, disabled individual, or child age 5 or younger may receive an Early Outreach application beginning in late August. These clients may apply for HEAP before the season officially opens.

The only documentation required for an early access application is copies of earned income, if any (last four weeks proof of wages -pay stubs).

Clients who received HEAP last season are not required to submit proof of unearned income like Social Security, SSD, workers comp, unemployment, utility bills, or proof of residency.

Those 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.

The mail-in application is for a Regular HEAP benefit only, for the main source of heat.

We will begin notifying companies of approvals from early access applications when program opens. The approval may restore service, or will create a 30-day hold from termination of service, or will result in a delivery of fuel, depending on the circumstances.

No HEAP Benefits resulting from early access approvals will be promised or issued to heat supplier until HEAP officially opens on November 14, 2016.

SNAP or TA AutoPay:

Households currently receiving SNAP or TA assistance may qualify for an AutoPay HEAP benefit that will be processed and credited automatically to heating bill in December or January.

Those wishing to check the status of an AutoPay may call the HEAP hotline at 858-7644 beginning October 3, 2016. If a client did not receive an AutoPay, they must submit a HEAP application. Proof of ID, residency, and income IS NOT required from SNAP or Temporary Assistance clients.

Early Outreach and AutoPay eligibility notices will be mailed in December, and benefits should appear as a credit on December or January heating bills.

The AutoPay is for a Regular HEAP benefit only, for the main source of heat.

No HEAP Benefits resulting from Auto Pay will be promised or issued to heat supplier until HEAP officially opens on November 14, 2016. 

2. Regular HEAP benefit:

Regular HEAP for household's main source of heat is available beginning November 14, 2016.

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.

Clients do not need a shutoff notice or low fuel to receive Regular HEAP. If there is a shutoff notice, a 30-day "hold" is placed on heat account if benefit is approved. Service will not be shut off during that 30 days and the 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:

$350 base benefit- Natural Gas or Electric Heat

$575 base benefit- Deliverable fuel (oil, propane, kerosene)

$525 base benefit- Deliverable fuel (wood, coal, pellets, corn)

Add on $26- Add an additional $26 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:

  • $35 benefit if income is Tier I
  • $30 if income is Tier II
  • 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 are available beginning January 3, 2017.

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

One Emergency “Heat-Related” electricity benefit is available- If there is a Shutoff notice and electric is needed to run furnace or thermostat.

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, 401{k}). 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 14, 2016

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


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

If Service is ON, with NO shutoff 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.

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

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 (AutoPay). No application for Regular HEAP is required for these households. If AutoPay is not received, a HEAP application must be submitted with a current utility bill. ID, proof of income and residency ARE NOT required from SNAP or TA active clients.

Clients can check the status of an AutoPAY by calling the HEAP Hotline at 858-7644.

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

A completed and signed HEAP application and the following documentation is required:

3. If Household is not receiving TA or SNAP and 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, HUD, etc.):

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):

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

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


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 the 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:

Clean and Tune

  • Eligible households will receive a free inspection, cleaning and tuning of heating equipment (furnace, boiler, chimney, etc.). A free carbon monoxide detector and programmable thermostat will also be installed, if one does not currently exist. Funding is limited and this assistance is provided on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Households must have received a 2015-16 Regular HEAP heating benefit OR be responsible for heating and have an income that does not exceed the 2015-16 maximum HEAP guidelines; Applicant must be the homeowner, as renters are not eligible, with the maintenance of renters' heating equipment being the landlord's responsibility; and the primary heating equipment must be more than 12 months old, with that equipment not being cleaned within the last 12 months.
  • Beginning August 1, 2016, clients may apply in person at the HEAP office, 291 Pearl St. entrance, Buffalo, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Applications will also be accepted by mail, and can be mailed beginning August 1, 2016. Clients may call the HEAP Application Request Line at 858-1969 for an application packet. Applicants will be provided a list of qualified contractors in the local area who have a contract with New York State to participate. HEAP will notify the chosen vendor of program eligibility, and the vendor will then contact the client to set up an appointment.  
  • There is no resource test for the Clean & Tune component as it follows HEAP Regular Benefit eligibility criteria. 


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)

Weatherization Assistance:

Home Performance w/ Energy Star- PUSH Buffalo (serves all of Erie County)

Low-interest loan/grant through NYS, for Energy Related home improvements, may be up to 50 percent 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.

WAP is NO-COST home weatherization services and energy conservation improvements including 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 percent 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:

If Head of Household is 60 or older:
If Head of Household is under 60:
  • Contact the HEAP office Under 60 WAP Referral Program: 858-2634

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.

Neighbor for Neighbor Heat Fund:

The Neighbor for Neighbor Heat Fund, a first-come, first-served home-heating assistance grant program, is available to provide assistance to low-income Western New Yorker to help pay for energy-related expenses. Qualifying Western New Yorkers may receive a one-time grant of up to $300.

In order to qualify for a grant, applicants must fall into at least one of the following classifications:

Applicants must have made a significant effort during the course of the year to make utility payments. The suggested baseline is 4 payments or more of $25 or more in a 12-month period. Monthly income and expenses will be verified and grant applications are processed by administering agencies. Applicants must reside in National Fuel's service territory; however, they are not required to be a National Fuel customer.

The fund provides grants that help people to:

Neighbor for Neighbor agencies in Erie County:
  • Catholic Charities at (716) 856-4494 or (716) 218-1400 (ask for Parish Outreach).
  • The Salvation Army at (716) 883-9800, extension 230.
"Care and Share" Electric Bill assistance:
  • Must have a shutoff notice on electric bill.
  • Must have low income.
  • Must have had HEAP exhausted or HEAP denied, supplying proof of these.
Care and Share agencies in Erie County: Catholic Charities - (716) 856-4494 or (716) 218-1400 (ask for Parish Outreach).

Emergency Aid for Families through Erie County (EAF) – 478 Main Street, 1st floor, Buffalo

Emergency Aid for Adults (EAA)- 478 Main Street, 1st 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 2-1-1 Western New York or 1-888-696-9211 after 4 p.m., or during the weekend.