ALBANY -- Applications for heating assistance this winter will be accepted starting Monday.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced there is $327 million in federal aid available to help qualified New Yorkers cover their home heating costs this winter.
"By securing this federal funding, residents across the state will no longer be forced to choose between buying food for their loved ones or paying their heating bill. I encourage all eligible New Yorkers to apply for this assistance in order to stay warm this winter season,” said Cuomo in a statement.
Heating costs are the largest portion of utility bills across America, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Last year, the average temperature throughout New York ranged between 15 and 35 degrees for the majority of the winter months, according to the National Weather Service.
The Home Energy Assistance Program assists low and moderate-income households who qualify to pay heating costs.
To qualify for heating assistance you need to meet certain income requirements. The maximum gross monthly income for a family of four to qualify for heating assistance is $4,457.
Households can receive up to $726 towards the cost of heating their homes for the winter.
Other factors that determine the amount of aid a household can receive is dependent on the number of people living in the home; if there are any young children or adults over age 60; or any one who is permanently disabled living in the home. The amount of aid is also determined on the type of heating unit that the household uses.
New Yorkers who qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or certain Supplemental Security Income may also be eligible for heating assistance this winter.
Last year, the Home Energy Assistance Program helped cover heating costs for about 1.5 million New York households.
More than 52,000 of those households were in the Southern Tier, almost 91,000 were in the Finger Lakes region, and over 102,000 of those households were in the mid-Hudson Valley.
To apply, residents can submit an application online at otda.ny.gov/programs/apply/#heap
Erie County Residents can apply here: http://www2.erie.gov/socialservices/index.php?q=heap-home-energy-assistance-program
Qualified households will be notified of their eligibility within 30 business days of their application being received.