The St. Lawrence County Department of Social Services will begin accepting regular applications for the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) on the opening date of Nov. 19.
Applicants who have received an early application in September from the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance because of the presence of an elderly or vulnerable person in the household may apply sooner.
Anyone else who desires to apply should call 379-2303 on or after Nov. 19 to receive an application.
This coming heating season, eligible applicants may receive one regular benefit, one emergency fuel benefit, and one emergency electric benefit. The income guidelines for the 2012-2013 heating assistance program are, for a household of one person, a maximum monthly income of $2,138; household size of two, $2,796 maximum monthly income; household of three, $3,453; four people, $4,111; five, $4,769; etc.
Households receiving benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as Food Stamps) and/or Temporary Assistance do not ordinarily need to complete a HEAP application.
The emergency component of HEAP will open on Jan. 2. HEAP customers who receive regular fuel benefits in November will not be eligible to apply for an emergency fuel benefit until then. HEAP customers who need electricity to run their furnaces and receive a disconnect notice also will not be able to apply for the emergency benefit until Jan. 2.
The state has tentatively scheduled a HEAP closing date of March 15, 2013 for regular and emergency benefits. The closing date for the heating equipment repair and replacement component will be March 15 unless extended.
In addition to HEAP applications being available at the St. Lawrence County Department of Social Services in Canton, applications are expected to be available at Catholic Charities in Ogdensburg, the St. Vincent De Paul Society in Massena, the Neighborhood Center in Gouverneur, and the mybenefits.ny.gov website.
The HEAP regular benefit for oil, kerosene, and propane this year is calculated to be between $600 and $650 this year. The regular HEAP benefit for St. Lawrence Gas, Massena Electric, and National Grid is calculated to be between $400 and $450. This year’s regular HEAP benefit for wood, pellets, and coal is to be between $500 and $550. Applicants who cut their own wood and need a HEAP benefit must either choose a wood vendor or have the HEAP benefit applied to their utility bill.
The emergency HEAP benefit for oil, kerosene, and propane is calculated to be $600 ($500 for wood, $400 for natural gas, and $560 for emergency for electric). Emergency benefits will be based on income, household size, and available resources.
HEAP may help with furnace or other heating equipment repair and replacement if an applicant owns and is living in a home needing assistance. This component of the HEAP program is open now. Anyone interested in applying should contact the Department of Social Services at the number above to set up an interview.