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Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)

Introduction

Department for the Aging
2 Lafayette Street
New York, New York 10007-1392
Herbert W Stupp, Commissioner

December 5, 1996

The New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA) is pleased to announce the start of the 1996-l997 HEAP season. The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is a federally-funded benefit which provides assistance to eligible seniors and low-income families with the cost of heating their homes.

The Department for the Aging is responsible for certifying HEAP eligibility for individuals 60 years of age and older, SSI recipients living alone or with a spouse only (Code A), and persons who are heads of households receiving Social Security Disability. In the past, your office has joined our City-wide effort to reach eligible older New Yorkers. Your assistance again this year would be appreciated. I am enclosing materials which will bring you up-to-date on the HEAP XVII regulations and may assist your staff in responding to inquiries from persons in your area who may be interested in the program.

The 1996-1997 HEAP Program maintains last year's requirements regarding the way benefit amounts will be determined. The base benefit for renters continues to be only $40 or $50 despite the advocacy efforts of Mayor Giuliani and the Department for an increase (75 percent of our HEAP clients are renters). Clients who pay directly for gas and electricity but not for heating will have a base benefit mailed directly to their utility vendor. If gas, electricity, and heating costs are included in the rent, a base grant will be mailed directly to the client.

In either case, the benefit amount of $40 or $50 is determined by household size and income. New Yorkers who pay directly for heating their homes will receive a benefit based on a point system, with each point valued at $45. A maximum of seven points may be awarded based on household income and size, energy burden, and the presence of a vulnerable person in the family, defined as: a child under 6 years old, a senior 60 years or older, or a disabled person.

Income eligibility guidelines have been minimally changed for the 1996-1997 program year. The maximum allowable monthly income by household size is shown in the attached HEAP GUIDELINES. As with last year's regulations, recipients of Public Assistance or Food Stamps are categorically eligible for HEAP. However, only households that include a vulnerable person, and are enrolled in these programs as of December 30, 1996 will receive an automatic base grant. Persons under 60 years of age who are enrolled after that cut-off date will need to file a HEAP application with the Department of Youth and Community Development. Those 60 and older should apply through the Department for the Aging. Individuals enrolled in the SSI Code A Program as of October 30, t996 will also receive an automatic grant. Those joining the program after that period, regardless of age, should file a HEAP application through the Department for the Aging.

Individuals 60 and older, who received a HEAP grant in the 1995-1996 HEAP season, will automatically receive an application by mail by the end of January 1997. Only those seniors who for some reason have not received an application by that time should request one by calling the Department for the Aging at (212) 442-1000. Only one application should be submitted per household since only one grant is paid, and duplications slow down our certification process and cause payment delays.

I am enclosing a copy of the HEAP application, instructions, mail- in envelope and HEAP flyer. The flyer is also available in Spanish, Creole, Chinese, Korean, and Russian. The HEAP "Important Notice About Energy Costs" is State-mandated and must be distributed with applications to clients who pay directly for heating costs. The State mandated "Application Rights" notice should be distributed with all applications. All HEAP related materials are available in quantity from the Department and may be obtained by calling (212) 442-3026.

The Department for the Aging's Information and Referral staff, located at 2 Lafayette Street, 6th floor, can assist seniors in completing their applications. Although we cannot station staff in field offices this year, we will continue to be present at major community events for seniors to provide information and to assist with applications. Once again, this year, we will be providing HEAP trainings to local service providers interested in assisting seniors with applying for benefits. We have found this to be a successful mechanism to expand our outreach efforts. Staff interested in attending a training, may call (212) 442-3026 for their location and schedule.

We realize that, as in the past, many elderly households will turn to your office for information or assistance with HEAP applications. Your ability to respond will assure that needed funds will reach low-income elderly in your community this winter season.

Thank you for joining in this effort on behalf of older New Yorkers.

Sincerely,

Donna Tessito
Assistant Commissioner
Bureau of Senior Assistance & Benefits

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