Applications for Home Energy Assistance Program open Oct. 1
√ More than 1.6 million homeowners & renters received heating aid in 2020-21
Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday announced more than $373 million in home heating aid is becoming available for low- and middle-income New Yorkers who need assistance keeping their homes warm during the upcoming winter season. Applications open Friday, Oct. 1, for the Home Energy Assistance Program, also known as HEAP, which is overseen by the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance and provides federal funding to assist homeowners and renters with their heating costs during the cold weather months.
"For so many New Yorkers, the cost of heating during the cold weather season is a major expense that can really strain their household budget," Hochul said. "The Home Energy Assistance Program is welcome relief for these individuals and families as winter beckons, ensuring they can heat their homes through the frigid months ahead."
Eligible homeowners and renters may receive up to $751 in heating assistance, depending on their income, household size and how they heat their home. A family of four may have a maximum gross monthly income of $5,249 or an annual gross income of $62,983 and still qualify for benefits – a modest increase from the previous year's threshold.
Applications for assistance are accepted at local departments of social services in person or by telephone, with funding provided on a first-come, first-served basis. A list of local offices by county can be found here. Residents outside of New York City may also apply online for regular heating assistance benefits. New York City residents may download an application and obtain program information here.
Last spring, the New York State Legislature extended a moratorium that prevents utility companies from disconnecting utilities to residential households that are struggling with their bills due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Utility companies must instead offer these individuals a deferred payment agreement on any past-due balance.
The law extended the moratorium for 180 days after New York's state of emergency declaration ended in June. That means utility companies may resume residential disconnections for nonpayment starting in late December, making this season's assistance from HEAP is even more timely this year.
In advance of this deadline, Hochul made $150 million in federal funding available to help low-income households pay heating utility arrears if they do not qualify for the that assistance under New York's Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The one-time payments will cover all accumulated heating utility arrears up to $10,000 per household, with applications for assistance accepted at local departments of social services in person or by telephone.
"For far too many New Yorkers, the impending cold weather months pose a significant financial burden due to the high cost of heating a home," OTDA Executive Deputy Commissioner Barbara Guinn said. "The Home Energy Assistance Program can alleviate some of that burden for homeowners and renters, allowing them to make ends meet as the mercury drops."
Last year, HEAP provided critical assistance to New Yorkers in every part of the state. View a list of 2020-21 HEAP households served by county.
New Yorkers who receive HEAP assistance this season and continue to fall behind on their utility bills or are running short on heating fuel may also qualify for a one-time emergency HEAP benefit. Applications for emergency benefits will be accepted starting Jan. 3.
Anyone in need of emergency assistance should contact their local department of social services. To qualify for these federally funded programs, applicants must meet HEAP eligibility criteria and income guidelines, which vary by household size.
Help is also now available to assist eligible homeowners if their primary heating equipment is unsafe or not operating and their furnace or boiler must be repaired or replaced. Benefit amounts through the HEAP heating equipment repair and replacement program are based on the actual cost incurred to repair or replace the essential heating equipment – up to $3,000 for a repair and $6,500 for a replacement.
Eligible homeowners can also now apply for a HEAP heating equipment clean and tune benefit to keep their home's primary heating source working at peak efficiency. Applicants for these benefits should contact their local department of social services for more information.