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Assemblyman Ceretto: HEAP can help cut heating costs this winter

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Wed, Nov 30th 2016 02:40 pm
Assemblyman John Ceretto
Assemblyman John Ceretto

Editorial by Assemblyman John Ceretto

Winters in Western New York are notoriously harsh, making preparation essential to surviving the cold months ahead. For many families, the rising cost of heating can be a serious concern. Unfortunately, some have to choose between turning on the heat or putting food on the table.

The good news is that the Home Energy Assistance Program may be able to help. HEAP, a federally funded program, provides financial assistance to renters and homeowners to cover the costs of electricity, propane, natural gas, wood, oil, kerosene, coal or other heating fuels. HEAP can also help pay for necessary heating repairs.

More than 1.4 million households received HEAP benefits in 2015. This year, eligible households can receive up to $626 in assistance. Eligibility for HEAP relies on a number of factors, including household size, income, primary heating source and whether a member of the household is under the age of 6, over the age of 60, or permanently disabled. For example, a family of four that has a household income of up to $53,076 annually, or $4,423 a month, can qualify for help.

You can learn more by calling 1-800-342-3009, visiting mybenefits.ny.gov or contacting your local office:

Erie County HEAP

478 Main St., 1st Floor, Buffalo

Open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays

716-858-7644

Niagara County HEAP

Lockport office: 20 East Ave.

Niagara Falls office: 301 10th St.

Open 8 a.m.-3:45 p.m. weekdays

716-278-8400

I encourage anyone who needs assistance with heating costs to apply for HEAP. If you have any questions or concerns about this or any other community issues, please contact my office at [email protected] or call 716-282-6062.

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