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:
- 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.
- Emergency HEAP benefits for heating are not capped at once per program year.
- 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.
- Income eligibility guidelines for Emergency HEAP have been decreased from 75% to 60% of the State median income.
- 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.
- The regular HEAP benefit will not be increased by $100 this year.