Thursday, November 12, 2009

PULP "Winter Extra" Guide to HEAP Now Online

PULP's "Winter Extra" for 2009 - 2010 is now available online. New York State's Home Energy Assistance Program ("HEAP") , the primary federal assistance program to help low income households in meeting home energy costs, provides assistance to eligible households during the 2009 - 2010 heating season. This year's program opened on November 2nd. The PULP Winter Extra is designed to guide advocates through the labyrinth of HEAP regulations and eligibility requirements.

This year's Winter Extra highlights a number of significant changes from last year's state HEAP Plan. The primary changes to the rules governing HEAP benefits for this winter season are:
  1. Regular HEAP benefits for eligible households paying an energy vendor directly are no longer determined on the basis of a point system and energy burden ratios.
  2. Emergency HEAP benefits for heating are not capped at once per program year.
  3. Maximum monthly income levels for Emergency HEAP (for income-tested households) have been reduced by 20% and now correspond to the Tier II maximum income levels. Last season, the maximum gross monthly income for Emergency HEAP eligibility was higher than the Tier II amount.
  4. Income eligibility guidelines for Emergency HEAP have been decreased from 75% to 60% of the State median income.
  5. A regular benefit to a heat-included household ($40/$50) that is eligible for a HEAP Emergency benefit may receive both benefits at the same time.
  6. The regular HEAP benefit will not be increased by $100 this year.
If a household lacks resources to pay utility bills and is ineligible for HEAP, or after the HEAP program has closed in the Spring, financial assistance may still be available under the state and locally funded emergency utility assistance program. For more information about that assistance, see the PULP Manual on the Social Services Law Section 131-s emergency utility assistance program.

Lou Manuta

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