Colder winter, higher heating bills, help is on the way

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – New York’s Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) for the 2016-2017 heating season opened Monday, and officials are telling families not to be shy about applying for HEAP benefits.

Poverty level, or just above poverty level doesn’t seem to apply to HEAP guidelines anymore. In recent years many families that would be considered middle class have qualified for HEAP benefits, depending on how many are in the family.

For those who could be in a pinch paying their heating bills—for gas, heating oil, coal, and other heating fuels–the government is boosting income limits substantially. A single person with a gross income of as much as $2,300 a month—that is nearly $28,000 a year qualifies for HEAP.

A family of 4 on more than $4,400 in gross income a month–or $53,000 a year–can also get help through the program. On the high end, families with as many as 11 members, can gross as much as $80,000 a year and receive help from HEAP.

Public utilities serving Western New York such as National Fuel, National Grid, and NYSEG also have programs to help customers pay their bills, or avoid service shutoffs. Customers can call their customer service numbers for more information.

To find out more about HEAP, contact your county’s Department of Social Services, or go to New York State’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Home Energy Assistance Program webpage.

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