The Home Energy Assistance Program, or HEAP, was established to help people who cannot afford heating for their homes. To qualify for HEAP you must meet certain eligibility factors including a low income, debilitating medical condition or emergent need for assistance. HEAP offers specialized plans, including help with electric bill payment, kerosene vouchers, or furnace repair. To apply for HEAP, you will need to submit an application that lists your heating needs and income information.
Check your eligibility for the Home Energy Assistance Program. Every state has slightly different requirements, as spending discretion is given to each state for this federal fund. For example, in New York, a household of four people will qualify for HEAP if their combined monthly earned income is less than $3,903. In Ohio, a household of four is eligible for HEAP if they earn less than $3,675. In Kansas, a family of four may only earn up to $2,389 and still qualify for HEAP assistance. You may also qualify for HEAP assistance if you have a medical condition that prevents you from earning enough to pay for heating, or a recent household emergency such as flood damage.
Locate your district HEAP office, which is probably your county Health and Human Services office. To find your local HEAP office, search your state name along with "HEAP" at the U.S Government Benefits website. There is a link to the website in the Resources section of this article. You may also find the office under "Social Services" in your local phone directory. Dialing 2-1-1 on your phone may connect you with a directory for health and human services, although some areas are not equipped with this phone service.
Submit an application with your local HEAP office. Most offices only accept in-person application, however some states allow for telephone or Internet applications. To apply in person, bring your ID and proof of income to the HEAP office. Request to file an application for HEAP assistance, and an employee will give you a paper to fill out, asking for your income and household information. To apply by phone, call your local HEAP office and submit your request. Some states, such as New York, have Internet applications. New York's Internet HEAP application is available as a link in the references section of this article.
If your heating is electrical, bring your electric bill to the HEAP office. They will likely set up checks to be sent to you in order to help pay heating costs. If you heat with kerosene or a wood furnace, include this information on the application and you will probably receive shipments of firewood or a voucher to buy kerosene. For emergency or medical-related HEAP assistance requests, the income requirements may be waived.
Leaky window and door seals waste electricity by letting heat escape your home. Fix all seals around windows with caulk or sealant gel to ensure that you don't pay unnecessarily large heating bills.
- New York State: Office of temporary and disability assistance
- New York State: HEAP Assistance Eligibility
- Public Utility Law Project: Home Energy Assistance Program
- Ohio Department of Development: Home Energy Assistance Program
- Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services: Low Income Energy Assistance Program
Justen Everage is a computer and mechanical engineer. Specializing in the fields of computer science, mechanics and information technology, he writes technical manuals for several online publications, administers websites and repairs electronics. Everage is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in business information systems from Ashford University.