Aid to help with heat­ing costs avail­able

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS -

DUTCHESS COUNTY >> The Dutchess County Of­fice for the Ag­ing re­minds se­nior cit­i­zens that, with colder weather ap­proach­ing, they may be el­i­gi­ble for aid from the Home En­ergy As­sis­tance Pro­gram, or HEAP, based on their in­come.

The pro­gram may be able to help res­i­dents heat their home by any of the fol­low­ing meth­ods: elec­tric­ity, nat­u­ral gas, oil, coal, propane, wood or wood pel­lets, kerosene, or corn. Res­i­dents could also be el­i­gi­ble for emer­gency HEAP ben­e­fits if they are in dan­ger of run­ning out of fuel or hav­ing their util­ity ser­vice shut off. The in­tent of the HEAP ben­e­fit is only as a one-time sup­ple­ment to the pay­ment of an­nual en­ergy costs. It is not a re­place­ment for they reg­u­lar pay­ment of heat­ing bills.

If you are 60 or over, ap­proved for HEAP in 201516, and not on the Sup­ple­men­tal Nu­tri­tion As­sis­tance Pro­gram or Tem­po­rary As­sis­tance, by now you should have re­ceived an ap­pli­ca­tion for the 2016-17 heat­ing sea­son from the state Of­fice of Tem­po­rary and Dis­abil­ity As­sis­tance. If you haven’t al­ready done so, com­plete the ap­pli­ca­tion and re­turn it to the lo­ca­tion printed on the ap­pli­ca­tion, so it may be pro­cessed in time for heat­ing sea­son.

New ap­pli­cants can re­ceive in­for­ma­tion and/or ap­ply elec­tron­i­cally af­ter the HEAP pro­gram’s of­fi­cial startup date of Nov. 14. You will be able to ap­ply at that time through my­ben­e­fits.ny.gov, or get an ap­pli­ca­tion from the Dutchess County Of­fice for the Ag­ing at (845) 486-2555. Peo­ple can also call the Of­fice for the Ag­ing for an ap­point­ment for as­sis­tance in fill­ing out HEAP ap­pli­ca­tions.

HEAP ben­e­fit lev­els are based on house­hold size, with max­i­mum monthly in­comes rang­ing from $2,300 for a one-per­son house­hold to $6,671 for an 11-per­son house­hold, with $520 added to the max­i­mum monthly in­come for house­holds of 12 or more.

Un­der­way now and con­tin­u­ing un­til Nov. 4 is HEAP’s “Clean and Tune” ben­e­fit, in which el­i­gi­ble home­own­ers can re­ceive en­ergy ef­fi­ciency ser­vices. This in­cludes the clean­ing of pri­mary heat­ing equip­ment for those whose con­tract with a heat­ing ven­dor does not in­clude such ser­vices. It may also in­clude chim­ney clean­ing, mi­nor re­pairs, in­stal­la­tion of carbon monox­ide de­tec­tors or pro­gram­mable ther­mostats, if needed, to al­low for the safe, proper and ef­fi­cient op­er­a­tion of the heat­ing equip­ment. Ben­e­fit amounts are based on the ac­tual cost in­curred to provide clean and tune ser­vices, up to a max­i­mum of $400.

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