2009-10-30 / Community

Pheffer Urges Residents To Sign Up For HEAP

Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer strongly encourages eligible residents to sign up for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). HEAP is a federally funded program that issues financial assistance to help with a household's heating cost.

"Severe weather and a poor economy pose serious risks to working families and the elderly during the winter. HEAP is a vital program that helps those vulnerable households meet their home-heating needs during winter," said Pheffer.

The HEAP regular benefit component assists lower-income New Yorkers with the cost of heating their homes. Regular benefit applications are being mailed to all households that received a HEAP benefit in 2008-09.

These applications may be mailed back to the local social services district in advance of the 2009-10 HEAP start date. However, regular HEAP benefits will not be paid until - or after - November 2, 2009. In addition, regular HEAP applications for households that did not receive a HEAP benefit last year will be made available on November 2.

Regular HEAP benefits are based on income, the primary fuel source - such as oil, gas, propane or kerosene - and number of household members who are under the age of 6 or age 60 and older, or who are permanently disabled.

You may be eligible for a regular benefit if:

• You are a United States citizen or

a qualified alien; • Your income is at or below the

current income guidelines for

your household size; • You receive food stamps; • You receive temporary assistance;

or • You receive Code A Supplemental

Security Income (SSI living

alone).

HEAP also provides emergency benefits to New Yorkers who are facing a heat or heat-related energy emergency and do not have the resources available to resolve the crisis. The emergency benefit component of the 2009- 10 HEAP program will also open on November 2 and emergency HEAP applications will also become available at that time.

"During the cold winter months, it's critical that every home has heat. The exorbitant cost of keeping warm has created a dire predicament for too many New Yorkers, and HEAP assistance provides additional protection for those who need it most. Heat is a necessity, not a privilege. That's why I am committed to supporting HEAP and ensuring that seniors on fixed incomes and working families struggling to make ends meet don't have to choose between paying for necessary prescription medicines, putting food on the table or heating their homes," said Pheffer.

For further information about HEAP, including how to apply, please call the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance's (OTDA) toll-free hotline at 800-342- 3009, or visit the OTDA Web site at www.otda. state.ny.us/main/heap/.

To find out if you are eligible for HEAP assistance, visit www.myBene fits.ny.gov.

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