New York's Home Energy Assistance Program is a federally funded program designed to help low-income homeowners and renters pay their heating bills during the winter. There are several components to the program, each with specific requirements and application periods. Each year, HEAP publishes income guidelines based on the number of people living in the household.
The HEAP income limits are published on the New York Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance website. Households are only eligible if the income falls below the specified limits based on the household size. For example, 2014-2015 guidelines limit a family of three to a monthly gross income of $3,544. A family of four can't exceed $4,219 a month. You may also be eligible if you receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Supplemental Security Income.
Households within a monthly income at or below 130 percent of the federal poverty level are classified as Tier 1, which also includes public assistance recipients. In 2015, a Tier 1 household of three is limited to a monthly gross income of $2,144.
HEAP Regular Benefit
As of 2015, the HEAP Regular Benefit is available November to March. Benefits are available to U.S. citizens and qualified aliens who fall below the income limits or receive public assistance benefits. You can receive a one-time benefit each year. The amount of the benefit is determined by your housing and source of heating. As of 2015, if heating is included in your rent, the one-time benefit ranges from $21 to $35. If you make the payments directly to a vendor or utility company, the benefit ranges from $350 to $575 per year, depending on your heating source. Tier 1 households and families with a person under six, over 60 or disabled can receive an additional $25 add-on benefit annually.
- The Heating Equipment Repair and Replacement Component is available November to January. This component of HEAP helps homeowners make necessary repairs or replacements to the home's primary heating source, such as boilers and furnaces. The maximum benefit is $6,500.
- The HEAP Emergency Benefit Component is open from January to March. This component helps households experiencing a heat or heating-related emergency. You might qualify for emergency assistance if you've received a utility disconnection notice or utilities have already been shut off for non-payment. You may also qualify if have less than one quarter tank of fuel, kerosene or propane or less than a 10-day supply of wood, wood pellets or corn. Your household can't have more than $2,000 in liquid assets if no household members are over age 60. If at least one household member is over age 60, you can't have more than $3,000 in assets. Examples of countable liquid assets include cash and bank accounts. Your home, vehicle and personal possessions are excluded.
- The HEAP Cooling Assistance Program is available May through August, or when funds run out. The cooling assistance program helps with the purchase and installation of a window air conditioning unit up to $800.
How to Apply
Apply for HEAP and program components during the availability period by visiting MyBenefits.NY.gov. You may also apply in person at your local social services office. For questions about the program, call the New York State HEAP Hotline at 800-342-3009.