New York provides energy assistance to low-income renters and homeowners through the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, or OTDA. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is a federal aid program available in every U.S. state, though each one is authorized to determine specific benefits and program names. In New York, it is often referred to as the Home Energy Assistance Program, or HEAP. The program helps low-income individuals and families pay for essential energy and utility bills.
To qualify for HEAP, all applicants must provide proof of meeting the requirements set by the state. Only those applicants with incomes that fall in the designated eligibility guidelines will receive benefits through this program. Likewise, the program is only open to New York residents. Those who qualify for HEAP may also be eligible for other assistance programs.
Individuals must apply for LIHEAP to see if they are eligible for financial assistance toward the cost of heating and cooling. Each state has different program qualifications and benefits. New York residents should apply for assistance to determine if they qualify. To learn more about the program, including how to apply for benefits, continue reading the sections discussed below.
Learn About Types of LIHEAP Energy Assistance in New York
Utility bill assistance for low income families in New York is available through the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP). It is managed by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA). Low-income residents struggling to pay their home energy bills may qualify for these federal grants. The program for which an applicant qualifies depends on his or her income, family size and need.
Utility assistance is a general term for a few aid programs. Through HEAP, approved candidates receive one benefit per season (heating and cooling) and may qualify for emergency assistance. HEAP benefits are paid directly to the fuel supplier on behalf of the household. The exact amount of benefits a household receives depends on their income and household size.
The LIHEAP program in New York also has a special Clean and Tune service, which helps qualified enrollees maintain their energy units. Clean and Tune provides essential cleaning of heating units, chimneys and wood stoves. It also provides carbon monoxide detectors and other safety features.
The Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) is a sister program that provides qualified enrollees with energy-efficient services designed to lower overall heating and cooling costs. Energy efficiency is a key factor in the cost of utility bills; the better sealed a home is, the less fuel a household uses. Weatherization includes insulation, caulking and duct sealing.
Another energy assistance program available in New York is the Heating Equipment Repair or Replacement Benefit. The program helps eligible enrollees repair or replace their water heaters, furnaces or boilers.
Cooling assistance is also available to eligible enrollees. This program provides installation of one air conditioner or fan per household. Those eligible for this benefit may not receive additional benefits through HEAP.
Learn more about the different LIHEAP programs in our free guide.
What are the New York LIHEAP requirements?
New York has many LIHEAP guidelines that outline the specific qualifications of the program. All applicants looking to receive benefits must meet the eligibility criteria determined by the state of New York. These guidelines include income, household size and energy type requirements. LIHEAP eligibility is determined during the application process. After submitting proof of meeting all the program guidelines, applicants are notified of their eligibility.
The LIHEAP qualifications are set by the state each year. All members of qualifying households must be U.S. citizens, U.S. non-citizen nationals or qualified aliens. Every member must also have a valid Social Security number. Residents who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, Temporary Assistance (TANF) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may automatically qualify.
There are also LIHEAP income guidelines to which all applicants are held in accordance with their household size. All types of income must be reported during the application process. Income includes (but is not limited to):
- Earned wages
- Self-employment wages
- Alimony and child support
- Retirement money and pensions
- Worker’s compensation
- Social Security benefits
How to Apply for LIHEAP in New York
Individuals must apply for energy assistance in New York during the proper season. Applications are only accepted while the season is in session. Candidates for the HEAP program have a few options when it comes to applying for benefits. Some applicants may apply for LIHEAP online while others must submit a form in person or apply by mail. Regardless of how they apply, all applicants must completely fill in the form and provide all required information. Incomplete files will not be processed and may be denied.
To submit the LIHEAP application online, you must reside outside of New York City. If you live in the city, you must apply in person or by mail. The web portal provided by the state makes it quick and easy to determine your eligibility for the program. You must create an account with a username and a password. Before starting the online application, you can check your eligibility with a handy pre-screening tool. However, this tool is not an official decision of benefits; you must complete an application to be approved.
You may complete a LIHEAP application form at a HEAP local office no matter where you live. Likewise, you may apply by mail. However, you must confirm the address to where you submit your application, as it depends on the region in which you live.
During the application process, you may need to submit a variety of documents proving your eligibility for the program. This includes:
- Proof of current address (i.e. a lease agreement or mortgage).
- Proof of identity for all members of the household (i.e. Social Security card or driver’s license).
- Proof of income (i.e. a W-2 or federal tax return).
- Proof of citizenship.
- Copies of recent energy bills.
- Information about type of fuel used.
Find out more about the LIHEAP application process in our comprehensive guide.
How much could LIHEAP pay in New York?
The monetary amount of utility assistance in New York depends on energy costs, fuel type, income and household size. These benefits are not paid to the applicant, but paid directly to the supplier on behalf of the household. Coverage amounts are not determined until after the application is submitted.
Enrollees only receive one benefit per season through the HEAP program. It does not usually cover the applicants’ entire utility bills, but it significantly cuts the cost of fuel for eligible participants. There are minimum and maximum coverage amounts allowed by the program. Currently, the base benefit amount for HEAP lies anywhere between $21 and $675. The maximum benefit amount for enrollees of the Clean and Tune benefit is $400. The Heating Equipment Repair or Replacement Benefit maxes out at $6,500.
How can I check the status of my LIHEAP application?
Residents must apply for LIHEAP in New York to see if they qualify for assistance. State officials must verify all the information to confirm eligibility status. Applicants who qualify for assistance will be notified within 30 business days from the date of submission.
Applicants who submit incomplete files may receive notice from officials that explains any additional steps they must take to complete the process. Those who must make corrections to their applications should call the number of their local HEAP office.