Aid to help with heating costs available
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.