Picente: County to Begin Taking Applications for HEAP

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. today announced that the 2012-2013 Home Energy Assistance Program, HEAP, will open November 19, 2012 for regular benefits and January 2, 2013 for emergency benefits. The heating equipment repair and replacement component of HEAP began October 1, 2012. The scheduled closing date for all three components of the program is March 15, 2013.

Picente said, “If this winter is like some we have had in the past here in Central New York, heating costs can skyrocket quickly. The home energy assistance program, or HEAP, can help alleviate some of these costs for low-income households who may not be able to handle their heating bills otherwise. I certainly encourage Oneida County residents to check our income eligibility guidelines, and if you think you are eligible, to come in and apply.”

HEAP assists eligible low-income households with heating costs, emergency heat related utility costs and applicant owned heating equipment repair or replacement.

Applicants may apply in person or mail, fax or drop off an application with the required documentation and complete a telephone interview. Households that have received a regular benefit may not have to submit a separate application to be eligible for an emergency benefit. If they have an emergency, recipients should call the local office to see if they qualify.

Eligibility for a regular benefit is based on gross income and household size.  The benefit amount is based on the household’s living situation, income level, if the household includes a vulnerable member and type of fuel used for heating. Regular benefit amounts range from $1.00 to $650.00. The residence must be the applicant’s primary residence and the applicant must be the customer of record on the heating account with the fuel vendor. A vulnerable household member is defined as someone under age 6 years, age 60 years or older or disabled (receiving SSI, Social Security disability or VA disability benefits). Renter households, where the heat is included in the rent, may be eligible for a benefit depending on the household income and if the rent is subsidized.

An emergency is defined as less than ¼ tank or less than 10 days worth of oil, kerosene or propane; less than 10 days worth of coal, wood, wood pellets, corn or other non-utility fuel or a 72 hour termination notice from a utility company. In addition to income and household size, available resources are considered when determining eligibility for an emergency benefit. Applicant households may not have liquid resources in excess of $2000.00 or $3000.00 if the household contains a member age 60 or older.

The Heating Equipment Repair/Replacement component of the HEAP Program is open from October 1, 2012 to March 15, 2013. Those seeking assistance for heating equipment repair or replacement must apply in person at one the Oneida County Department of Social Services HEAP offices. Please call the local office for further information. A furnace replacement may be received once in ten years, even if the applicant moves and the furnace must have been in services as the primary source of heat for the applicant for at least 12 months prior to the application. A resource exclusion of $3000.00 is permitted for heating equipment repair or replacement for applicant households.

The income guidelines have increased slightly for the 2012-2013 program year. The following chart lists the maximum monthly gross income according to household size.

Income Eligibility Guidelines

HH Size

Monthly Income

1

0 - 2,138

2

0 - 2,796

3

0 - 3,453

4

0 - 4,111

5

0 - 4,769

6

0 - 5,427

7

0 - 5,550

8

0 - 5,673

9

0 - 5,797

10

0 - 5,920

11

0 - 6,346

11+

$495

 

Eligible households in receipt of Temporary Assistance or Food Stamps may receive automatic payments and need only apply if an automatic payment is not received or if an emergency situation arises.

Those wishing to apply may do so at the following locations:

Oneida County Department of Social Services
HEAP Department
800 Park Ave
Utica    NY    13501
Telephone 798-5559      FAX 724-0089

or

300 West Dominick Street
Rome    NY    13440
Telephone 338-0240      FAX 338-0293

Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency
1721 Black River Blvd
Rome    NY    13440
339-2649

or

5 Johnson Park
Utica, NY 13501
733-4873

 

The Oneida County offices take applications Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM on a first come, first serve basis with priority given to those in an emergency situation.

Mohawk Valley Community Action gives appointments and is opened Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM. Additional dates and hours may be announced at a later date. Applicants are seen by appointment only. Emergency appointments are only done in the Rome office of Mohawk Valley Community Action. To make an appointment you may go into the office or call 339-2649.

In addition to seeing people in the office on Black River Blvd in Rome and Johnson Park in Utica, Mohawk Valley Community Action will have outreach sites available. The locations, dates and times will be listed in the local newspapers at a later date. There will also be notices posted at outreach sites.

The Office for the Aging also provides outreach service sites. Please call 798-5456 for the locations, dates and times. Any senior who did not receive a benefit last year but wishes to receive an application in the mail may call Office for the Aging at 798-5456 and request to be added to the mailing list.

For those needing assistance completing the application help is available. If you are a senior citizen or disabled contact The Office for the Aging at 798-5456 in Utica and 356-0550 in Rome. Otherwise, contact Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency at 339-2649 in Rome and 733-4873 in Utica.

The New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance will be mailing applications to households that received a benefit in the 2011-2012 benefit year and contain a senior citizen, a code A SSI recipient or a vulnerable household member. The mailings to those households will be staggered according to zip code and start in August.