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Home Energy Assistance Program opening Tuesday


Sat, Nov 10th 2018 11:35 am
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 Tuesday, Nov. 13 - and Erie County's Department of Social Services ("DSS") anticipates receiving high numbers. The HEAP program is scheduled to run through March 31, 2019, but households are encouraged to apply sooner rather than later. Last season, more than 90,000 households in Erie County received benefits.
"With the weather turning cold, many senior citizens and working families being to worry about their heating costs. Fortunately, Erie County residents have the HEAP program to provide residents the assistance they need to keep their homes warm and their families safe. I encourage all residents who qualify to apply," said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz.
In order to expedite the application process and to prevent residents from standing in long lines, applicants are encouraged to apply for benefits online rather than make a trip to the downtown HEAP office.
"Department of Social Services staff is ready and prepared for the busy HEAP season," said Social Services Commissioner Marie Cannon. "Residents with heat service currently and who do not have a shut-off notice are encouraged to apply online at http://www.mybenefits.ny.gov or by calling the HEAP application request line at 858-1969."
Residents without heat or with a shut-off notice should visit the Erie County HEAP office at 460 Main St., 2nd floor. This location is about 30 feet from the old HEAP office at 478 Main St.
Regular HEAP is a benefit designed to decrease a household's energy costs. Regular benefits are available to households paying separately for heat and to households who 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.
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, 60 or older, or 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 on Nov. 8. HEAP Emergency Benefits for households whose main source of heat is natural gas or electricity can be applied for beginning Jan. 3, 2019.
For more information on the Erie County Department of Social Services, visit http://www.erie.gov/socialservices/.

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