Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that $15 million in additional funding is available to help eligible New Yorkers heat their homes following a spate of severe weather over the past month. Starting Tuesday, February 19, households in danger of running out of heating fuel or having their utility service shut off may apply for a second emergency benefit through the Home Energy Assistance Program. In addition, Governor Cuomo announced the extension of the application period for both regular and emergency HEAP benefits until April 26.
Households are ordinarily only eligible to receive one regular HEAP benefit each winter, and then one emergency HEAP benefit in the event of an energy crisis. Beginning Tuesday, households that have already received a regular and emergency benefit during this HEAP season will be able to apply for additional assistance if they are faced with the possibility of having a utility shut off or running out of heating fuel without the means to replenish it.
New York State’s persistently cold temperatures and snowfall in recent weeks have been comparable to last winter – one of the coldest on record. The statewide demand for emergency HEAP benefits remains high, with more than 35,000 households seeking assistance so far this year.
Though temperatures remained seasonally mild to start the winter, a polar vortex plunged New York into a deep freeze in January, where temperatures in many areas of the state dipped below zero. Additionally, several winter storm systems brought significant accumulations of snow throughout the state, including a lake-effect band that set a daily snowfall record in Buffalo late last month.
The amount a household receives from HEAP depends on their income, household size and how the home is heated. A family of four can have a household income of up to $55,178 per year, or $4,598 per month, and still qualify for help. A household that heats with oil could receive more than $2,200 in total assistance this winter.
Overseen by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, HEAP is 100 percent federally funded. Applications for emergency HEAP are accepted at local departments of social services in person or by telephone. A list of offices by county can be found at the Governor’s website.