The state is making additional emergency home heating assistance available to senior citizens and low-income households in response to rising energy costs, state officials announced this morning.
The state has approved offering a second emergency benefit to qualified applicants through the Home Energy Assistance Program. So far this winter, HEAP has issued benefits to more than 719,000 families, totaling more than $178 million.
A second emergency benefit will now be offered to qualified applicants, thanks to $82.3 million in recently-released federal HEAP contingency funds. Additionally, the amount of the emergency benefit for deliverable fuels is being increased from $600 to $700, reflecting the skyrocketing cost of home heating fuel. The additional federal funds will also allow the program to remain open until May 15, reflecting the long heating season in parts of the state.
The program offers two components – a regular benefit and an emergency benefit. This season, the state increased the maximum regular benefit a household can receive to $540, up from $440 last winter. Additionally, qualified applicants facing an energy-related emergency, such as a power shutoff or less than 10 days supply of heating fuel, can apply for an emergency benefit. Under the program changes announced today, a second emergency benefit of up to $700 will be available.
Applications for HEAP benefits can be made at county departments of social services. The funds are paid directly to participating energy vendors on behalf of clients throughout the state.
For information on how to apply for HEAP, visit www.otda.state.ny.us/main/heap or call 800-342-3009.