Friday, May 02, 2008

HEAP Program to Close in May

New York's 2007 - 2008 federally funded Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) will close soon. According to the OTDA website
The Regular Benefit component of the 2007-08 HEAP program has been extended to Friday, May 16, 2008 however the Emergency Benefit component has been extended until Friday, May 30, 2008. After May 16th, Applicants must be in an energy emergency situation, which is defined as having less than a 10 day supply of fuel, having utility service terminated, or having utility service scheduled for termination. In addition, applicants must not have enough resources to take care of their emergency themselves.
As of mid-April, the 2007 - 08 HEAP program had provided much needed energy assistance benefits to more than 940,000 New York low-income households this year with its federal funding of approximately $248 million. President Bush has proposed reduced funding for next year's federal LIHEAP program, which provides all the funds for New York's HEAP program. See Bush Proposes LIHEAP Cuts in 2009 Budget.

Next year's HEAP program is likely to begin November 1, 2008. A draft state plan for use of next year's HEAP funding is expected to be released by OTDA for public comment in the next month or so.

When HEAP is not available utility customers who are unable to pay utility bills, whose service has been terminated or is threatened to be terminated, and who have no alternative payment arrangements possible may be eligible for a grant or loan from the local social services department that would cover the most recent four months service. Utilities are required to restore or continue service with the partial payment. For further information see PULP's web page on utility assistance programs. See also the chapter on Public Assistance Allowances for Energy and Utility Costs in PULP's law manual for advocates.

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