11/13/14: Long Lines Anticipated During Opening of HEAP Program

Modified: January 23, 2015 3:28pm

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First Day for Applications is November 17; Residents Encouraged to Avoid Lines, Apply Online

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Applications for regular Home Energy Assistance Program (“HEAP”) benefits will be accepted beginning Monday, November 17, 2014 and Erie County’s Department of Social Services (“DSS”) anticipates receiving more than 20,000 HEAP applications by the end of December.  To expedite the application process and to prevent residents from standing in long lines to apply, HEAP applicants are encouraged to apply for benefits online, rather than make a trip to the downtown HEAP office.

Eligible households whose primary heat is electricity or natural gas and who make payments based on their household’s actual usage can receive a regular benefit up to $350. Households using a different heating source or that have their heating costs included as part of their rent may receive a larger or smaller amount.

“HEAP is a critical program that assists low-income residents with the cost of heating their homes. However, as HEAP benefits are only available for a specific time during the year, many people mistakenly believe heating assistance is available only on a first-come, first serve basis,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “With a heavy day for applications anticipated for next Monday’s opening, we are encouraging residents to save themselves a trip downtown, avoid a potentially long line and wait time, and apply for HEAP benefits online.”

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.

Regular HEAP eligibility and benefits are based on income, household size, the primary heating source and the presence of a vulnerable household member who is under age 6, is age 60 or older, or is permanently disabled. An eligible household may receive one regular HEAP benefit per program year.  Households currently receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (“TANF”) and/or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”) 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: 

2014-2015 HEAP Benefit Gross Monthly Income Guidelines

Household Size

Maximum Gross Monthly Income

Household Size

Maximum Gross Monthly Income






















The season for applying for regular HEAP benefits runs through December 31st. HEAP Emergency Benefits for households whose main source of heat is natural gas or electricity can be applied for beginning January 2, 2015.


For more information:

On the Erie County Department of Social Services, visit http://www2.erie.gov/socialservices/