Home Energy Assistance Program
The New York State Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is a federally-funded program that helps households with low income to pay their energy bills.
Eligibility for HEAP depends on household size, residency, immigration status, and income levels. If you meet the income criteria for other public benefits, like CA or SNAP, you will automatically be processed for HEAP and receive an automatic payment.
Certain housing situations do not qualify for HEAP benefits. For instance, if you do not have to pay for heating costs, you are living in a hotel or motel or living in a car or RV, you are a student living in a dorm or a child residing in a boarding home or group home.
Also, only “qualified aliens” can receive HEAP benefits. This generally means you are one of the following: lawful permanent resident; refugee; asylee; battered spouse and children; victim of trafficking; or individual from certain countries.
The income levels for eligibility for HEAP vary depending on the number of people in your household. There are income charts that will tell you whether your monthly income is low enough to receive HEAP benefits. Certain types of income are not considered in determining if you are eligible for HEAP, including loans, reimbursement for employment expenses or medical expenses, foster care payments and earned income tax credits. Also, assets are not considered for eligibility for HEAP.
HEAP provides a regular cash benefit to pay electric and heating bills, an emergency benefit to pay those bills and also benefit to help repair or replace heating or cooling equipment. The amount of the benefit is the same throughout New York State and depends on whether your rent includes heat and AC or whether you pay separately for those utilities.
The amount of the benefit depends on the household’s gross income, the household size and whether your heat and utilities are included in your rent or paid separately. You may receive cash payments to help pay your energy bills or you may receive a credit with the energy provider and New York State will pay the provider directly. The period for applying for HEAP benefits generally begins in November of each year.
There is an Emergency HEAP benefit helps you if your utilities or heat is about to be turned off for non-payment, or has already been turned off. The amount of the Emergency HEAP depends on the household size and the type of emergency.
Legal Editor: Lisa Pearlstein, City Bar Justice Center
Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.