Enrollment for New York’s Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is now open. In addition, applications are being accepted for the federally-funded Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which provides rent and utility relief payments.

According to NYSEG, which this week issued a reminder about the programs:

— HEAP helps low-income residents pay their home heating costs. Those eligible may receive one regular HEAP benefit per program year and could also be eligible for emergency HEAP benefits if they are in danger of running out of fuel. Eligibility and benefits are based on a number of factors, including income, household size, the primary heating source and the presence of a household member who is younger than 6 years old, 60 or older, or is permanently disabled.

— The newly instituted Regular Arrears Supplement HEAP benefit can be applied to past-due energy bills. This one-time benefit is available to HEAP-eligible residents and is based on the current amount of utility arrears up to $10,000 per household.

— ERAP is available to residents who are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible renters in New York state can receive up to 12 months of past due energy expenses, as well as past rent expenses. The state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance began accepting applications for ERAP on Sept. 15. The eligibility criteria also includes household income and having experienced financial hardship due to the pandemic.

For more information on how to apply for these benefits, including the necessary income qualifications, visit otda.ny.gov.

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