By Senator Patty Ritchie
Leaves changing colors, cooler temperatures and shorter days – all signs that winter is just around the corner.
When the weather turns colder, it leaves many in the troubling position of deciding to pay for heat or pay for other necessities, like food or medication.
It is critical for all of us here in New York State to let our family, friends and neighbors know there is help.
Applications for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) are now being accepted.
It is recommended that people fill out an application as soon as possible.
This year, depending on income, household size and the type of heating source you use, eligible applicants can receive a one-time benefit of up to $675, plus potential add-on benefits.
However, it is critical that you apply as soon as possible as funding through this program is only available until it runs out.
To learn more about HEAP, program changes for this winter and to fill out an application, visit https://mybenefits.ny.gov/mybenefits/begin or obtain an application at your local Department of Social Services office (listed below):
Jefferson County Department of Social Services
250 Arsenal St., Watertown, NY
Oswego County Department of Social Services
100 Spring St., Mexico, NY
St. Lawrence County Department of Social Services
6 Judson St., Canton, NY
In addition to applying for the one-time benefit, households can also apply for an emergency benefit, beginning on January 2, 2019, if they are in danger of having their heat turned off, or they are running out of fuel.
This winter join me in ensuring our seniors, family, friends and neighbors by sharing this lifesaving information and helping them apply for this key program helping people stay warm as the temperatures drops.