Assemblymember Marcos A. Crespo: HEAP Offers Assistance to Those Who Need It Most This Winter

October 4, 2011
New York is notorious for harsh winter weather, and many working families and seniors have trouble paying their heating bills, especially in this tough economy. To help those vulnerable households meet their home-heating needs in a safer, more affordable manner this winter, I strongly encourage eligible residents of the Soundview, Hunts Point, Clason Point, Bronx River, Longwood and Harding Park areas to sign up for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). HEAP is a federally funded program that issues heating benefits to supplement a household’s annual energy cost.

Regular HEAP benefits are based on income, the primary heating source and the presence of a household member who is under age 6, age 60 or older or permanently disabled. An eligible household may receive one regular HEAP benefit per program year. Regular benefits for households that pay directly for heat based on actual usage are paid to the vendor of the household’s primary source of heat. You may be eligible for a regular benefit if:

  • You and your household members are United States citizens or qualified aliens;
  • Your household’s gross monthly income is at or below the current income guidelines for your household size;
  • You receive food stamps;
  • You receive temporary assistance; or
  • You receive Code A Supplemental Security Income (SSI living alone).

In addition to regular benefits, HEAP also provides emergency benefits to New Yorkers who are facing a heat or heat-related energy emergency and do not have the resources available to fix the crisis. Emergency HEAP benefits are based on income, available resources, the number of household members and the primary fuel type. You may be eligible for the emergency benefits if:

  • Your electricity is necessary for your heating system or thermostat to work and is either shut off or scheduled to be shut off;
  • Your natural gas heat is off or scheduled to be shut off;
  • You are in danger of running out of fuel; or
  • Your essential home-heating equipment is inoperable.

HEAP benefits also include the heating equipment repair or replacement component, which helps low-income homeowners repair or replace furnaces, boilers and other direct-heating elements required to keep the home’s primary heating source in working order. Benefit amounts are based on the actual cost incurred for repair or replacement of the appliance, up to $6,000.

I am committed to supporting HEAP and ensuring that seniors on fixed incomes and working families struggling to make ends meet do not have to choose between heating their homes and putting food on the table.

For further information about HEAP, please call the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance’s (OTDA) toll-free number at 800-342-3009, or visit the OTDA website at www.otda.ny.gov/programs/heap. To find out if you are eligible for HEAP assistance, visit www.myBenefits.ny.gov. As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office with any questions or concerns at 718-893-0202.