Home heating aid available

Now that it’s turning seriously cold, State Assemblyman Kevin Cahill (D-Ulster, Dutchess) reminds residents that there is aid available for those struggling to heat their homes.

Low-income and working-class families are encouraged to apply for the state’s Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP).

“The winter season is often the most difficult for many citizens and the prevention of heating emergencies is of utmost concern,” Cahill said in a news release. “HEAP has constantly helped people to survive the colder months with a sense of dignity and assurance.”

Eligibility for the program is based on income criteria, the primary fuel source used in the home and the presence of a resident who is either under the age of 6, over the age of 60 or permanently disabled. Those who are currently receiving temporary assistance or SNAP benefits are automatically eligible. Check with your case worker to make sure that you are enrolled.

In addition to regular HEAP benefits, the state also offers Emergency HEAP and the Heating Equipment Repair and Replacement Program. Emergency HEAP, which will be available starting Jan. 2, 2014, addresses such issues as utility shut-off, fuel scarcity and inoperable heating equipment. The Heating Equipment Repair and Replacement Program, which is now open, provides assistance for the repair and replacement of heating equipment. Applications for this program must be made in person at the local Department of Social Services.

To determine eligibility, residents should visit mybenefits.ny.gov or call their local HEAP office: 845-486-3249.

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