Assistance Available For Home Heating Bills

Neil D. Breslin

October 14, 2008

High fuel prices this year have many families worried about their energy bills and increasing food costs. There is help available for eligible residents of Albany County through programs operated by Albany Community Action Partnership (ACAP).  To access these programs, ACAP offices are located at 333 Sheridan Ave, in Albany and 30 White St, in Cohoes.

Beginning November 3, 2008 through early spring ACAP will provide Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) applications to assist with payment of your heating bills.  Eligibility for the program is based on income and your household situation.  The total gross monthly income for your household size must be at or below the following to be eligible:

Household Size          Income Limit

1                                                         $1,963

2                                                         $2,567

3                                                       $3,172

4                                                       $3,776

In order to apply if you’re eligible, you will need to bring the following to an ACAP outreach office:

Ø  Proof of Income for the most recent previous 4 weeks

Ø  Proof of Residence (current rent or mortgage receipt, lease, etc…)

Ø  Original ID with social security number for all members of the household

Ø  Heating Bill within the past 30 days from a fuel vendor or utility; or a lease if heat is included in the rent

If the application is for an emergency no-heat situation, you will also need to bring in a statement that shows that you have no resources, such as your bank balance, etc…

If you are eligible for HEAP, you are also automatically eligible for Food Stamps which will help you offset the rising cost of basic groceries.  You can apply for these programs at the same time, as the same documentation can be used for both programs; however, you may also be able to deduct expenses such as child care or child support in your Food Stamp application, so bring proof of these expenses as well.

If your household income is at or below 60% of the state median OR if you are already eligible for HEAP, Food Stamps, SSI, or Public Assistance, you are automatically eligible for the Weatherization program which offers up to $4,500 worth of cost effective energy conservation measures, such as insulation, caulking and furnace repair which are free to qualifying applicants. The documentation needed for HEAP can be used to apply for the Weatherization program at the same time. 

According to national studies, households that receive weatherization services can expect heating costs to be reduced 20 to 25 percent, which is a significant savings these days!  This year more than ever, we want to be sure that all of our citizens are safe and warm this winter.