Home Energy Assistance Program to open Nov. 18by jmaloni
If you need help with your heating bill, or if you know someone who does, the Home Energy Assistance Program can help. HEAP is a federally funded program that provides assistance to eligible customers to pay their home heating bills. National Fuel customers are encouraged to apply as soon as possible for assistance, as funds are limited and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, starting Nov. 18.
Grants are available up to $450 to help reduce the amount of your heating bill, and, new this year, customers may apply online at www.mybenefits.ny.gov. Grant amounts vary and will be provided only while HEAP funding remains available. Additional assistance may be available for those with heating emergencies. The maximum "regular" HEAP grant for customers who use natural gas to heat their homes is $450. HEAP grants are immediately posted to customer accounts when they are received from New York state.
HEAP eligibility is determined using the last four weeks of your gross household income. Customers who are unemployed or seasonally employed may also be eligible for HEAP to reduce the amount of their heating bills. You may be eligible to receive HEAP benefits if your gross household income is at or below the income levels shown in the photo.
All applicants can either apply by mail, in person or online. If your gas is off or you have a shut-off notice, you should apply for the "regular" HEAP benefit in person. For a list of what you will need to apply for HEAP or a list of HEAP application offices by county, visit www.HEAPHelps.com. To apply online, visit www.mybenefits.ny.gov.
Beginning Jan. 2, 2014, if you received a "regular" HEAP benefit, you may call your county office to apply for a $400 "emergency" HEAP benefit. You must have a shut-off notice to apply for the "emergency" benefit. Callers should be prepared with their case numbers, social security numbers, utility account numbers, household income and resource amounts (bank account balance, etc.).
If you meet the HEAP income guidelines, you may also be eligible for National Fuel's Low Income Customer Affordability Assistance Program. The program offers stable bills, reduced rates and debt forgiveness. You must be using National Fuel as your natural gas supplier to be eligible for this program. Call the business line at 1-800-365-3234 to begin the LICAAP application process.
The Neighbor for Neighbor Heat Fund, a first-come, first-served home-heating assistance grant program, is also available and will remain open year-round to assist Western New Yorkers help pay for energy-related expenses. Qualifying Western New Yorkers may receive a one-time grant of up to $400. In order to qualify for a grant, applicants must fall into at least one of the following classifications: Be at least 55 years old; a member of their household must be handicapped or have a disability that reduces the household's income; have a certified medical emergency; or be receiving unemployment benefits.
Applicants must reside in National Fuel's service territory; however, they are not required to be a National Fuel customer. For more information, visit http://nationalfuelgas.com/forhome/NY/PaymentAssistance.aspx or call The Salvation Army at 716-883-9800, ext. 230.
National Fuel Gas Distribution Corp. is the utility segment of National Fuel Gas Co., a diversified energy company that is engaged in a number of natural gas-related activities. The utility provides natural gas service to approximately 730,000 customers in Western New York and northwestern Pennsylvania. Additional information about National Fuel is available at www.nationalfuelgas.com.