ROCHESTER, NY (WXXI) – Right on time with the cold snap that’s hit us this week, Tuesday was the first day people could apply for the Home Energy Assistance Program, or HEAP, the federally-funded program that helps low-income households with home heating costs.
Kenneth Bird is senior energy program coordinator at the local HEAP office in Monroe County.
He says it’s an income-based program, and eligibility is also based on primary heating source and household size.
“It’s a lump-sum payment that goes directly to the vendor. The maximum benefit for somebody with heat and utilities with RG&E would be $401.” Bird says that’s the regular HEAP benefit, but emergency heating assistance is available starting in January.
“Come January 2nd of 2020, the emergency component of the program opens. People that have an emergency at that time who’ve already received regular HEAP, can call and apply for emergency HEAP over the phone,” Bird said.
He says statewide, over 1.5 million people last year were helped by HEAP, including 60,000 in Monroe County.
Go to mybenefits.ny.gov for more information on HEAP.