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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 by calling the application request line at 858-1969, or by visiting www.erie.gov (scroll to the bottom of page and look for HEAP in the "Frequently Requested Information" section), or by visiting www.mybenefits.ny.gov

On November 14, 2016 a printable application and complete HEAP guidelines will be available by visiting the www.erie.gov HEAP site. 

HEAP Furnace Repair or Replacement Assistanceis 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:

  • $350- Natural Gas Heat
  • $490- Electric Heat – PSC and municipal electric companies
  • $575- Deliverable Fuel (i.e. oil, propane, kerosene)
  • $525- Other Fuel (coal, wood, wood products)
  • $140- Heat Related Electric – PSC and municipal electric companies

4. How to Apply for HEAP: Effective November 14, 2016

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

  • Household member or authorized representative must report to HEAP:


  • 478 Main Street, Buffalo (8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.)- All Households receiving TA or SNAP, and heads of household under 60 years of age, non disabled
  • 291 Pearl Street, Buffalo (8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.)- Heads of Household 60 or older, or under 60 and disabled (not receiving TA or SNAP)

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

  • Household member or authorized representative may call the HEAP Hotline at 858-7644, and a HEAP Hotline representative will examine the situation and direct the application process accordingly. Client may or may not need to report.

If Service is ON, with NO shutoff notice and NO low fuel supply:

  • Household may call the HEAP Application Request Line at 858-1969, or request an application on this web page. An application packet will be mailed and there is no need to report.

**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.

To request a HEAP Application, clients may call the Application Request Line at 858-1969 or visit the HEAP wep page at www.erie.gov.

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:

  • Proof of GROSS EARNED INCOME (wages) received with the last 30 days for all household members.
  • If paid weekly, last 4 paystubs.
  • If paid bi-weekly, last 2 paystubs.
  • 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.

3. If Household is not receiving TA or SNAP and did not receive HEAP assistance last season:

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

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:

  • Shutoff notice or statement of low fuel supply from company.
  • Proof of all household liquid resources.
  • One form of ID for any new household members (that were not listed on Regular HEAP application).

If Household did not receive a Regular benefit this season:

  • For main source of heat, no Emergency benefit is available until Regular benefit is exhausted.

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.):

  • If Heat is included in rent- Not eligible for assistance with heating costs.
  • If Electric is included in rent- Not eligible for assistance with electric costs.
  • If Household pays directly for heat:
    • Eligible for Regular and Emergency HEAP towards heating bill (see above for benefit amounts) – “Heater’s Benefit
  • If Household pays directly for “Heat-Related Electric":
    • Eligible for Emergency HEAP "heat related" electric benefits (see above)

8. Wage Calculation for HEAP Applications:

HEAP calculates all 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)

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 that 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


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:

  • Two (2) furnace estimates from participating HEAP contractors
    • Household may call any contractor they want for an estimate, but contractor must be a participating HEAP contractor in order to receive approval.
    • A list of participating vendors is available at the 291 Pearl Street Intake window.
    • Clients should ask contractors whom they call if they participate with HEAP, and ask for a FREE estimate.
    • HEAP will not reimburse homeowner for cost of an estimate & all participating contractors are supposed to provide free estimates to HEAP applicants.
  • Proof of homeownership- Deed to home (County Real Property website can be utilized to prove home ownership if client cannot locate Deed). 
  • Proof of household resources.
  • Current checking and/or savings account statements, proof of any stock, bonds, CDs, IRAs, etc.
  • One form of ID for all household members.
  • Proof of income for all household members received within last 30 days.
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.  


  • Renters are not eligible for HERR. Landlords may not apply for HERR for rental properties.
  • Homeowners must own and be residing in the property for the 12 months prior to the HERR application.
  • The furnace must have been operable within 12 months prior to the HERR application.

Other Furnace Assistance (if HERR is closed):

National Fuel Emergency Heating Repair or Replacement Program

  • The customer's main source of heat (furnace) must be inoperable.
  • The applicant must own the home.
  • The entire household; ALL members of the household, are age 62 and older, or age 18 and younger, or are blind, or permanently disabled, or are on life support.
  • Must be low income. Regular HEAP income guidelines are followed but higher income cases may be reviewed on an exception basis.
  • HEAP HERR must be unavailable.
  • Clients may call 686-6123 or 1-800-365-3234 for assistance.

Erie County Emergency Aid for Families/Adults:

  • Erie County Funded 0% Loan, or Grant if household is receiving SSI.
  • Erie County Department of Social Services Emergency Services Unit: 478 Main Street, 1st floor.

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

  • See below:

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:

  • Contact Erie County Senior Services Information and Assistance: 858-8526.

If Head of Household is under 60:

  • Contact the HEAP office under 60 WAP Referral Program: 858-2634.

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:

  • Replacement of Refrigerators that are 10 or more years old.
  • Installation of high-efficiency lighting and insulation.
  • Tips on how to save energy.
If Head of Household is 60 or older:
  • Contact Erie County Senior Services Information and Assistance: 858-8526
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:

  • HEAP-eligible households can receive basic service for as low as $1.00 per month, plus per-call charges and taxes.
  • Clients should complete a Lifeline application and mail it to phone company with a copy of your HEAP award letter.
  • Applicants can apply, or recertify Lifeline discount using last year’s HEAP eligibility notice, if current season notice is not yet received.
  • Contact telephone service provider for more information.

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:

  • Be at least 55 years old.
  • A member of their household must be handicapped or have a disability that reduces the household's income.
  • Have a certified medical emergency.
  • Be receiving unemployment benefits.

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:

  • Prevent disconnection of their utility service.
  • Pay current or past due energy bills (excluding electric utilities).
  • Purchase home heating fuel of any kind.
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

  • Assistance for all ages, 0 percent loan-based program may assist with most recent 4 months' bills.

Emergency Aid for Adults (EAA)- 478 Main Street, 1st floor, Buffalo

  • Assistance for recipients of SSI or SSD. Grant/Loan program may pay recent and/or current bills.
  • Must have a current shutoff notice or be low on fuel, and exhausted all HEAP benefits for season (or HEAP is closed for season).
  • Applicants whose service has been off for an extended period are not eligible.
  • Must bring the following to the interview:
    • All individuals in the household ages 18 and older must be present at interview.
    • Must have picture ID for anyone in household age 18 and older, and ID for anyone in household under 18
    • Proof of Rent expense or if homeowner (deed to home).
    • Current Gas, Electric, Phone bills.
    • Proof of all income of the entire household for last 8 weeks (including wages, child support, SS, SSI, pension, rental income, etc.).
    • Letter from HEAP stating that benefits are exhausted/denied.
    • For National Fuel assistance applicants must attain a financial statement from National Fuel before applying for EAF or EAA (go to National Fuel Office at 409 Main Street, Buffalo).
    • For National Grid or NYSEG assistance, contact electric company and tell them you are applying for EAF and request financial statement, they may send it directly to you or to EAF worker, depending on the situation.

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.