Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- Erie County residents may qualify to receive assistance with their heat and energy bills this winter, the Erie County Department of Social Services announced Wednesday.
The Home Energy Assistance Program officially begins for the 2011-2012 winter season on Wednesday, November 16. HEAP is a federally-funded program designed to help families with the costs of heating their homes. It is administered locally by Social Services in partnership with the Erie County Department of Senior Services.
“In anticipation of the cold weather months and subsequent high fuel costs, all eligible Erie County households are encouraged to apply for HEAP,” said Social Services Commissioner Carol Dankert. “The federal government has made the necessary adjustments to deal with this season’s anticipated participation in the HEAP program and our county departments are prepared to meet the needs of our residents.”
HEAP income eligibility guidelines and benefit amounts are as follows:
Household Size Monthly Income At or Below
1 $ 2,146.00
2 $ 2,806.00
3 $ 3,466.00
4 $ 4,127.00
5 $ 4,787.00
6 $ 5,447.00
7 $ 5,571.00
8 $ 5,695.00
Erie County households may gain access to HEAP in the following ways:
• If heat or electric service is off, or a heating fuel supply (oil, propane, etc.) is depleted, a household member or authorized representative should report to the HEAP office.
• If heat or electricity service is on, but a shut off notice has been issued, or if a heating fuel supply is low, a household member may call the HEAP assistance line at 858-7644.
• If there is no shut off notice or no low fuel supply, clients may call the HEAP application request line at 858-1969, upon which an application will be sent and should be completed by the applicant and returned by mail, or apply in person at the HEAP office located at 478 Main Street from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Regular, annual HEAP benefits range from $20 to $500 depending upon fuel type, household size, and household income Food Stamp and Temporary Assistance recipients should automatically see a benefit credit on their bill.
Applications for Emergency benefits, for households in danger of having utility service shut off, households with secondary heating utility (electricity) shut-off or running out of fuel, will be accepted beginning January 3, 2012. Applicants are encouraged to apply early. March 16, 2012 will be the last day the department will accept applications for regular HEAP benefits.
For more information, please visit www.erie.gov/socialservices.