Senator Steve Saland (R,C Poughkeepsie) today announced that the New York State Senate has passed legislation (S.6464, S.6462A) that will allocate an additional $100 million in state funds to the federal Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). This agreement with the Assembly adds a legislative commitment of $50 million to the $50 million proposed in the Executive Budget. The legislation passed the Assembly today and will now be sent to the Governor.
HEAP provides senior citizens and lower-income families with heating costs through grants from $40 to $400. Grants depend on the household’s income, family size, living arrangement, heating expenses, type of heat, and the presence of children, adults over 60 years old, and disabled individuals. For example, gross monthly income for a family of four must be $41,616 or less to qualify. A family of two must make $28,296 or less per year.
"Last year 2,186 Columbia County residents and 3,934 Dutchess County residents took advantage of HEAP," said Senator Saland. "We want to be sure that we have adequate funding available to keep the program open to those who utilized the program last year. With the increased price of fuel it was anticipated that the program would otherwise shutdown in March. When making quality of life decisions people should not have to sacrifice medicine or food for fuel."
While heating prices rose by 60 percent in the last two years, federal funding for the program has remained flat. HEAP applications in New York State have risen by as much as 25 percent.
In addition the Senate also passed a Senior Heat program last fall that would provide direct rebate checks to senior citizen homeowners to offset the skyrocketing cost of energy.
Those looking for information on HEAP may call 1-800-342-3009 to request an application or other information or visit www.otda.state.ny.us. or contact their county Office for the Aging.