We are currently in the heart of the winter season and are facing a fiscal crisis with many New Yorkers finding themselves wondering how they are going to afford to heat their homes. The federal government has a grant program called the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), which aids low-income households with their home heating costs and, in emergencies, can assist in the repair and/or replacement of your household furnace.
The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) distributes two types of HEAP funds; formula funds, which go directly to the state based on their requested need and emergency funds, which are released by the president during emergency situations. Last year, President Bush released $5.1 billion of these federal funds, $550.9 million of which will be allocated to New York State. This will be an increase of $190.3 million over what New York received during the 2007-2008 heating season. These funds include both formula and emergency.
Please note that for the 2008-2009 heating season, household income eligibility requirements for regular HEAP have been increased to the maximum amount permitted under federal law. These requirements are $43,308 to $45,312 for a family of four. The income levels for emergency HEAP have also been raised with a one-time increase from $45,312 to $56,640 for a family of four, which took effect on January 1, 2009. Since this is a one-time increase, it is possible to qualify for emergency HEAP while not qualifying for regular HEAP.
Those New Yorkers who are eligible for HEAP may get application instructions by going to http://www.otda.state.ny.us/main/heap/apply.asp. If you have any questions, please contact me at my district office at 631-537-2583.