Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is a federally funded energy assistance program. New York’s grant is allocated among the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) for a heating benefit program, the State Division of Housing and Community Renewal for weatherization activities and the State Office for the Aging for outreach and referral activities. Applications are taken at the Department of Social Services and the Schenectady Community Action Program.
Who is eligible for HEAP?
New York State has structured HEAP in such a way that higher benefits are provided to those households that: have larger percentages of their income spent on energy costs; contain a vulnerable individual; and have the lowest income.
Vulnerable Individuals are defined as children under the age of 6, adults aged 60 or older, or disabled individuals.
What are the guidelines for eligibility?
Eligibility for the program is based on income and your household situation. Your total gross monthly income for your household size must be at or below the following levels as illustrated in the HEAP Income Guideline.
What is an “eligible household”?
- You must also be living in an eligible household
- You must either pay directly for heating costs or must pay rent that includes heating costs.
- If you reside in subsidized housing, you must pay heating costs separately from your rent.
- Individual applicants must be United States citizens or qualified aliens.
- You can complete a pre-screening survey to determine eligibility at www.mybenefits.ny.gov.
What if I have a emergency situation?
In order to be eligible for emergency benefits, the household must meet the above criteria and must also:
- Be in an emergency as defined by the New York State HEAP Plan.
- Be the customer and tenant of record.
- Reside in the dwelling with the emergency.
- Have insufficient liquid resources to meet the emergency.
If I am found eligible how much will I be provided?
The HEAP program provides two types of benefits that consist of two components, regular benefits and emergency benefits.
Regular Benefit Component:
The program uses a base benefit amount depending on fuel type with up to 2 add-ons of $25.00 each for vulnerable member and Tier I eligibility.
- Benefits to households are provided to pay directly for heat or make undesignated payments for heat in the form of rent.
- The program calculates household benefits using a point system.Points are assigned based on income, percent of income spent on energy, and presence of a vulnerable individual in the household. The point value for the 2013-14 program year has been set at $50 per point.The minimum number is three; the maximum number a household can receive is eight.
- Eligible households that do pay directly for heat receive a benefit amount ranging from $125 - $450.
- Eligible households that do not pay directly for heat receive a standard statewide benefit of either $20- $25.
Emergency Benefit Component:
- Eligible households receive emergency benefits based on the type of emergency. For the 2013-14 program, basic emergency benefits have been set as follows:
- Heat related Domestic - $160
- Natural Gas – Heat only - $400
- Natural Gas heat and electric to operate heating equipment - $560
- Electric Heat - $560
- Non-utility heating fuel (oil, kerosene, propane) - $600 one time benefit
- Non-utility heating fuel (wood, pellets, coal, corn) - $500 one time benefit
How will I receive my benefits?
Households may receive regular benefits in one of the ways listed below:
Click Here for Printable HEAP Application (or Spanish version)
Those applicants aged 60 or older, in receipt of temporary assistance (TA), Food Stamps (FS), or SSI or those under age 60 who received a benefit in the prior year are permitted mail in access. Outreach is performed to groups with vulnerable individuals. Applicants over the age of 60 should contact the Schenectady County DSS at 797 Broadway.
- Those households not permitted mail in access must apply in person for benefits. Applications are taken at the department of social services 797 Broadway. Schenectady DSS also provides for alternate sites for individuals to file applications. The Schenectady Community Action program located at 913 Albany Street accepts applications M-W-F from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Wed. only from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. (Please arrive 45 minutes before closing time to allow staff to fully complete the application process.)
Automatic Payment Component
- Again this year for the 2011-2012 heating program, households that are in receipt of temporary assistance or Food Stamps with HEAP eligible living arrangements are identified via our statewide computer system and are issued a payment automatically through that system. No application is required.
- Payments to households that pay for heat separate from their rent are sent directly to the household’s identified energy vendor.
- Payments to households that have their heat included in their rent are paid directly to the household.