By Assemblyman Will Barclay
The State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance began accepting HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program) applications November 3.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program is a federally funded program administered by the state that assists eligible households in meeting their home energy needs.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â HEAP has helped millions across the country pay for costly utility bills.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â This year, Congress approved $476 million for New York to be able to assist with these costsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â$120 million more than last year.
Other changes this year include higher income guidelines. For example, a family of four can gross up to $45,312 and still qualify for some assistance. Also, fuel oil customers can qualify for more assistance this year, up to $800, due to higher fuel oil costs; and the government has waived the face-to-face application requirement for emergency benefit applicants.
Each year, 800,000 New Yorkers receive assistance from the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) to help pay their heating bills.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Furnace repair or replacement assistance is available to help low-income home owners repair or replace furnaces, boilers and other direct-heating components necessary to keep the homeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s primary heating source operational as well.
Many people qualify to receive the benefits. Benefits are based on income, the percentage of the income spent on heating energy costs, the primary fuel source and your housing situation. Here are the gross monthly income guidelines for a household of: one, $1,963; two, $2,567; three, $3,172; four, $3,776; five, $4,380.
To obtain HEAP assistance, applicants must use the state prescribed application.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Applications may be obtained and submitted to your county Department of Social Services HEAP office.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â In Onondaga County, the address for the Onondaga County Department of Social Services is 421 Montgomery Street, Civic Center, Syracuse, NY 13202 and the phone number is (315) 435-2985.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Also, in Onondaga County, applications may be processed online if the applicant received HEAP last year.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â To apply online, visit www.otda.state.ny.us/otdaheap/.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â In Oswego County, the address for the Oswego County Department of Social Services is 100 Spring Street, PO Box 1320, Mexico, New York 13114 and the phone number is (315) 963-5000. Residents in Oswego County may also apply through the Office of Aging and Youth, (315) 349-3484.
For more information on saving energy, visit http://www.heatsmartny.org. HeatSmart workshops are being held throughout the state.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â The workshops teach ways to weatherize your home, effective insulation techniques and how to prevent air leaks.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â In Oswego County, on Nov. 21, the Oswego City Library will host a workshop at 10:30 p.m.; the Granby Community Center will host one on Dec. 1 at 6:30 p.m.; and the Palermo United Methodist Church will host one on Dec. 9 at 6:30 p.m.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â To register, call 963-7286.Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Also, in Onondaga County, residents may still attend a HeatSmart workshop at the McChesney Senior Center in Syracuse on Nov. 20 at 11 a.m. To register, call 424-9485.
If you have any questions or comments or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office by mail at 200 North Second Street, Fulton, New York 13069, by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling (315) 598-5185.