Governor Kathy Hochul announced that New Yorkers needing help paying their heating bills can begin applying for home heating assistance on Tuesday, November 1. The Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as HEAP, can provide up to $976 this winter to help low- and middle-income households and senior citizens keep their homes warm and help defray high energy costs.
“We remain committed to ensuring our most vulnerable New Yorkers have access to assistance and programs that will help address rising costs for heating their homes this winter,” Governor Hochul said. “The Home Energy Assistance Program is a vital lifeline for countless New York families, and I encourage all who are eligible to apply for these benefits, which will provide much-needed financial relief.”
The program, overseen by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, is federally funded. Eligible households can receive one Regular benefit per season and could also be eligible for an Emergency benefit if they are in danger of running out of heating fuel or having their utility service shut off. Applications for emergency benefits will be accepted beginning January 3, 2023.
Eligible homeowners and renters may receive up to $976 in heating assistance, depending on their income, household size, how they heat their home, and if the household contains a vulnerable member. A family of four may have a maximum gross monthly income of $5,485 or an annual gross income of $65,829 and still qualify for benefits.
The value of the Regular HEAP benefits has been increased due to the higher heating costs forecast for this winter. The benefit was increased by 33 percent for households that heat with oil, kerosene, or propane; 21 percent for households that heat with wood, wood pellets, coal, or corn; and 14 percent for households that heat with electricity or natural gas.
Applications for assistance are accepted at local departments of social services in person or by telephone, with funding provided on a first-come, first-served basis. Residents outside of New York City may also apply online for regular heating assistance benefits. New York City residents may download an application and obtain program information here.
New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel W. Tietz said, “Higher heating costs this winter will threaten household budgets throughout New York. The Home Energy Assistance Program provides vital relief, especially for low-income working families, as well as senior citizens on a fixed income. I encourage anyone in need of this assistance to apply before the coldest weather sets in.”
Representative Paul Tonko said, “As we enter into the winter months and Putin’s war against Ukraine continues to escalate, more Americans have been burdened by rising home energy costs, particularly seniors and low-income families. I fought hard to advance additional funding for the Home Energy Assistance Program and am thankful to have secured that federal support for this vital program. I will continue to do all I can to provide needed relief to New Yorkers and ensure families can afford their energy bills.”
Representative Adriano Espaillat said, “I commend Governor Hochul on allocating federal funds that I helped secure to keep New Yorkers warm, and I encourage all eligible households in my district and throughout New York City to apply for assistance this winter and utilize these resources to meet the costs of heating their homes. As we enter winter months ahead and temperatures begin to drop, it is critical we provide the necessary support to ensure residents, vulnerable communities, and seniors on limited incomes can heat their homes to stay warm while not fretting over high energy costs.”
Nearly 1.7 million HEAP benefits were issued last winter, the highest in at least the past five years. Similar demand for assistance is expected again this winter.
New Yorkers who receive HEAP assistance this season and continue to fall behind on their utility bills or are running short on heating fuel may also qualify for a one-time Emergency HEAP benefit. Applications for Emergency benefits will be accepted starting January 3.
Help is also now available to assist eligible homeowners if their primary heating equipment is unsafe or not operating and their furnace or boiler must be repaired or replaced. Benefit amounts through the HEAP Heating Equipment Repair and Replacement program are based on the actual cost incurred to repair or replace the essential heating equipment – up to $4,000 for a repair and $8,000 for a replacement. The maximum amounts were also increased from last year due to higher costs of labor and materials.
Eligible homeowners can also now apply for a HEAP Heating Equipment Clean and Tune benefit to keep their home’s primary heating source working at peak efficiency. Applicants for these benefits should contact their local department of social services for more information.