HEAP Benefits and How to Apply
Residents who have difficulties with their home heating expenses may count on certain benefits and subsidies from the federal government. Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is the first resort for any low-income New York resident facing difficulty in successfully funding the heating season, heating or cooling emergency of any kind, which may be lack of fuel, lack of available funds to pay cooling or heating-related electricity or gas bills, an empty heating oil or propane tank, or lack of any heating fuel in general. Technical emergencies, such as a heating system failure, tune-up or urgent replacement are also available for all applicants who fulfill the eligibility criteria and qualify.
Income level is the critical eligibility criteria. To qualify for any of the HEAP benefits, an applicant must provide proof that their gross monthly income does not exceed $2,194 plus $675 for each additional member of the household.
Besides the Cooling Assistance for summer, there are three major types of HEAP benefits:
- HEAP Regular Benefits: Helps low-income residents with their heating expenses. Applications are usually accepted from mid-November through late March the next year. Other than general income level, other eligibility or advantage criteria may include presence of a household members below 6 and above 60 years of age or permanently disabled persons who may be of any age. For households whose primary heating source is oil, propane, kerosene or any other deliverable oil, the benefit add-on is $575 plus applicable add-ons.
- HEAP Emergency Benefits cover all situations where urgent assistance is required: shut off heating electricity or gas supply, nearly empty heating oil or propane tank and less than 10 day supply of any solid deliverable fuel. To qualify, you must prove that your household’s available financial resources are below $2,000 ($3,000 if anyone living in the household is aged 60 or older). Oil heat emergency benefits are $575. To apply for this benefit you need to refer to your local emergency contact. List of emergency contacts for all New York counties can be found at https://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/HEAP-contacts.pdf
- Heating Equipment Repair and Replacement: If your heating system has issues such as breakage, need for an urgent tune-up or consuming excess fuel, and you fulfil other HEAP eligibility criteria, you can get your system repaired, tuned-up or replaced for an amount not exceeding $6,500. Applications for this benefit are made only in person at the local department of social services. Benefits are paid after completion of all works.
Although you can apply for HEAP online under certain conditions, most applications need to be submitted in a printed form to the local HEAP certifier. All applicants need to be either US citizens or qualified aliens. A qualified alien is anyone who meets at least one criteria from the list found at https://otda.ny.gov/programs/applications/4998.pdf. All benefits are paid to vendors or fuel suppliers, while applicants still have freedom of choosing them, but need to make sure that they have signed an agreement with the State that defines them as HEAP vendors.
Application form will be available at https://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/apply/ once the application season opens.