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Home Energy Assistance Program opening Monday

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Thu, Nov 9th 2017 04:30 pm
First day for applications is Nov. 13; residents encouraged to avoid lines, apply online
Applications for Home Energy Assistance Program ("HEAP") regular benefits will be accepted beginning Monday, Nov. 13, and Erie County's Department of Social Services ("DSS") anticipates receiving high numbers.
The HEAP program is scheduled to run through March 15, 2018, but households are encouraged to apply sooner rather than later. To expedite the application process and to save residents from standing in long lines, HEAP applicants are encouraged to apply for benefits online rather than make a trip to the downtown HEAP office.
"With a heavy application day anticipated for Monday's opening, we are urging residents with heat service currently on and without a shutoff notice to file HEAP applications online at www.mybenefits.ny.gov or by calling the HEAP application request line at 858-1969. Additionally, HEAP outreach events are available for residents to sign up for this benefit at various locations in the community," said Karen Rybicki, DSS, assistant deputy commissioner.
A calendar detailing outreach events can be found on the Erie County Social Services website.
Regular HEAP is a benefit designed to decrease a household's energy costs. Regular benefits are available both to households paying separately for heat and to households that make undesignated payments for heat in the form of rent. Eligible households whose primary heat is electricity or natural gas can receive a $350 regular benefit. Households using a different heating source or that have heating costs included as part of their rent may receive a larger or smaller amount. Last season, more than 100,000 HEAP benefits were authorized to Erie County households.
Regular HEAP eligibility and benefits are based on income, household size, primary heating source and the presence of a vulnerable household member who is under age 6, is age 60 or older, or is permanently disabled. An eligible household may receive one regular HEAP benefit per program year. Households currently receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families ("TANF") and/or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ("SNAP") benefits may qualify for an automatic basic HEAP benefit and would not be required to file a separate application. Households may ascertain the status of an auto pay by calling the HEAP hotline at 716-858-7644.
In order to qualify for a regular HEAP benefit, the members of the household must be citizens of the U.S. or qualified aliens with gross monthly income at or below the amount per household size listed in the table below: 
The heating equipment repair and replacement benefit component, available to help eligible low-income homeowners repair or replace furnaces, boilers and other direct heating equipment necessary to keep the home's primary heating source functional, opened Nov. 6. HEAP emergency benefits for households whose main source of heat is natural gas or electricity can be applied for beginning Jan. 2, 2018.
For more information on the Erie County Department of Social Services, visit http://www.erie.gov/socialservices/.

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