What is HEAP? (Spanish, Chinese)
HEAP is a federally funded program that:
A. Gives heating benefits to help low-income people who need help meeting their yearly energy costs;
B. Helps pay for heat in an energy emergency;
C. Offers furnace repair and/or replacement.
New York State also has a Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) that covers the Weatherization Program. If you are eligible, the program gives you payments of up to four months for utility bills that are past due so that your utility service is not be shut-off.
What is the HEAP season?
In general, HEAP begins in November. Check at http://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/ to confirm the exact dates or call the Office of the Temporary and Disability Assistance toll-free hotline at 1-800-342-3009.
Who is eligible for HEAP?
To find out if you may be eligible for HEAP benefits, you can visit myBenefits.ny.gov to use the HEAP Pre-screening Eligibility Tool.
You can also contact CIDNY and ask for a Benefits Check-up.
In general households are eligible for HEAP when they have one or more people who are receiving:
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF);
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps);
- Veterans’ and Survivors Pension; or
- People whose annual incomes meet HEAP standards see www.otda.state.ny.us/main/heap/ or contact CIDNY for further information.
Are there different housing categories for this program? Yes.
- Government-subsidized housing with heat included in the rent;
- Publicly operated or State-certified private nonprofit residential drug or alcoholic treatment facilities;
- Private nonprofit residential drug or alcoholic treatment facilities that are allowed to provide food stamp benefits;
- Publicly operated or State-certified private nonprofit supportive housing;
- Publicly operated or State-certified private nonprofit residential group living facilities serving no more than 16 residents;
- Publicly operated or State-certified private nonprofit supervised or supported living arrangements; and
- State-operated community residences.
Who is a household member?
- Any person or group of people who combine their income to pay rent.
- A person sharing living expenses, if you have household bills in your name, or are the named tenant on the lease or co-owner of a home, or
- If you are living in a home and are related by blood, marriage, or adoption to any other household member, you are considered to be a household member and your income will be counted for HEAP.
Relationships by blood, marriage or adoption include:
- Father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister;
- Stepfather, stepmother, stepbrother, stepsister;
- Grandparent, grandchild
Who cannot receive HEAP benefits?
- People in the household who have no responsibility for heating costs and do not pay rent;
- People who are paying room or room and board in a private residence;
- People living in a hotel/motel on a temporary basis;
- People who are living in cars, vans, or temporarily living in recreational vehicles;
- People who are living in government provided housing on military bases with no heat or utility bills in their name;
- People who are living in unsafe and/or condemned housing; and
Do I have to be a citizen to get HEAP?
No, people applying for HEAP can be:
- A legal Permanent Resident;
- An immigrant granted asylum;
- An immigrant paroled into the United States;
- An immigrant whose deportation is being withheld;
- An immigrant granted a conditional entry;
- An immigrant who is Cuban or Haitian;
- A Native North American Indian born in Canada or a member of a federally recognized Indian Tribe born outside the United States who is living in the United States.
What benefits can I get from HEAP?
A. Assistance with your heating bills
Regular Direct Heating This benefit is for people in households who are paying primary heating costs directly. Eligibility is decided by your income, household size, the fuel type you use, and whether someone in your home is under 7 years old, a person with a disability or someone who is a frail elderly person. You can find out the benefit amounts by filling in the application form. You may be able to get from $40 to $600 to help you pay your bills depending on your situation.
Heat Included – If you pay for heat through your rent payment you may also be eligible for HEAP. Benefit amounts are based on your household income.
B. Emergency Help
If you have a heating emergency (you have run out of fuel, your furnace or other heating equipment has broken down, your utilities have been shut off), HEAP can give you enough in benefits to help you get through the emergency.
Other heat-related emergency assistance
- HEAP may be able to pay for Temporary Emergency Shelter or Relocation; the maximum total benefit may not be more than $500 during the HEAP season.
- Propane Installation/Reconnection; the maximum total benefit may not be more than $500 during the HEAP season.
- You are automatically eligible for HEAP emergency benefits if:
- You are a TANF recipient, SSI recipient and/or SNAP recipient or
- If you are a customer of record (the person who has an account in their name with the utility company) and are not a “qualified immigrant”. You may still receive emergency HEAP benefits on behalf of the members of your household who are United State citizens or “qualified immigrants”; and
- your household is currently without heating fuel or with heating fuel that is equal to or less than one-quarter of the household’s fuel tank (for oil, kerosene and propane); or
- You have a heating fuel supply that will last less than 10 calendar days (for wood and coal) and you cannot get a delivery; or
- You have a heat-related utility service that has been discontinued or scheduled for disconnection; or
- Having an emergency home heating situation that is considered by the local social services department to be a danger to the health or safety of household members if emergency shelter or relocation is not provided; AND
- The household does not have available liquid resources in an amount greater than $2,000 ($3,000 for households with a member over the age of 60).
What resources does HEAP consider?
- Checking and/or savings accounts
- Time deposit certificates
- IRA accounts, including remaining amounts from a closed out IRA
- Lump sums for sale of property or insurance settlements and balances from any other lump sum not specifically excluded
- 401(K) and other retirement accounts
- Income tax relief (not including EITC payments)
- Other available funds not specifically excluded
What are not considered resources?
- Amount designated for an allowable current monthly living expense such as food, shelter, employment-related expenses
- Money earmarked for payment of the current year’s property and/or school taxes for the primary residence
- One burial plot per household member
- One written pre-arranged burial agreement with a cash value not exceeding $1,500 per household member and interest on the burial account
- Account, such as PASS accounts, designated by the Social Security Administration as exempt from SSI resource limits
- Real and personal property
- Automobiles and other vehicles
- Household furnishings
- Agent Orange Settlements payment
- Nazi Restitution payments
- Attica Settlement payments
- College grants
- Earned Income Tax Credit payments
- Loans (including college loans)
- Credit cards or advances from credit cards
- Individual Development Accounts (IDA’S)
How fast will an emergency energy crisis be fixed?
- Within 18 hours of an application if the residence is without power or a fuel for heat;
- Within 48 hours if there is a high risk that there will be a loss of heat-related service or fuel supply.
Are there other ways my family can get help in an emergency energy crisis?
Yes, they may include:
- Temporary relocation or shelter;
- Getting an extension of service from the household’s utility company; and
- Other appropriate temporary remedies.
C. Heating equipment replacement and/or repair
If a piece of heating equipment needs repairs or needs to be replaced, HEAP can help if:
- The equipment you want to replace or repair is owned by you.
- The equipment was given to you permanently.
- The cost of replacing the equipment is not more than $6,000.
- Costs of replacing or repairing the equipment is more than $4,500 and is approved ahead of time.
- You are replacing only one piece of equipment in a ten-year period.
- Repairs for equipment are not more than $3,000 unless a waiver has been granted.
How do I apply for heating equipment repair and/or replacement?
- You must apply in person.
- If you are homebound, your local district must provide for you to apply. They can do that by:
- Sending a worker to your home;
- Arranging for transportation for you to get to the HEAP site, if you are physically able; or
- Allow for an authorized representative (like a family member or other person you choose) when you cannot participate in a home visit or cannot use transportation that is offered to you.
Does HEAP offer Cooling Assistance?
The Weatherization Assistance Program may provide air conditioners in situations where at least one member of the family has a severe medical condition that would worsen by extreme heat. A person’s disability and need for an air conditioner must be documented by a doctor. Funds are limited for this program are limited.
Besides allocated funds for air conditioners, what else is covered under the LIHEAP Weatherization Assistance Program?
- Local social services departments are authorized to purchase an appropriate supply of safe, supplemental heating devices that meet the building code, and loan them to households which are waiting for primary heating fuel during weather-related emergencies and/or temporary fuel shortages.
- Weatherization needs assessments/audits
- Caulking, insulation, storm windows, etc.
- Furnace/heating system modifications/repairs
- Furnace replacement
- Cooling efficiency modifications/replacement/repairs
- Other weatherization needs not included in Department of Energy Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program regulations
Who do I contact for general information regarding the weatherization program?
Thomas O. Carey, Director
Energy & Rehabilitation Services
How can I apply for benefits?
To find out if you may be eligible for HEAP benefits, you can visit myBenefits.ny.gov to use the HEAP Pre-screening Eligibility Tool or see CIDNY's Resource Guide.
For further information about the Home Energy Assistance Program, you may call the Office of the Temporary and Disability Assistance toll-free hotline at 1-800-342-3009.
To file online, go to: https://www.otda.state.ny.us/otdaheap/
To file by mail
You can apply for HEAP benefits by mail if you are:
- SSI households;
- TANF and SNAP recipients;
- Heads of household aged 60 and older;
- Heads of household who are disabled and are in receipt of Retirement, Survivor’s or Disability Insurance under the Social Security Act; or
- Heads of household under 60 who received a HEAP benefit in the prior year.
Mailing Address for Applications:
New York City HRA Department of Social Services
P.O. Box 1401
Church Street Station
New York, NY 10008
What can you do if you are denied HEAP?
- You have a right to a fair hearing at the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (NYS OTDA): toll-free hotline at 1-800-342-3009.
- If you are denied weatherization assistance you have a right to a fair hearing before the New York State Department of Housing and Community Renewal (DHCR).
Thomas O. Carey, Director
Energy & Rehabilitation Services
Contact HEAP online at www.otda.state.ny.us/otdaheap/
Or call CIDNY at 646-442-4186 and ask to speak to a benefits counselor.