Financial aid in the face of rising New York energy costs

USA – New Yorkers are paying 50% more for their electricity than the national average according to the latest monthly statistics from the US Energy Information Administration. With frost making its first seasonal appearance on New York streets and the imminent arrival of winter, the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) reminds New Yorkers of the opportunity to join a program which subsidizes heating costs. As part of the federal Home Energy Assistance Program for financing energy (HEAP), New Yorkers can receive up to $ 625 to help pay their heating bills for winter 2014-2015.
Households in New York eligible for assistance can register this week to obtain funds, but the AARP said that the system will operate on a “first come, first served” basis.
New Yorkers have the highest average household electricity bills and retirees and pensioners as well as New Yorkers in low income households consequently spend a higher percentage of their income on utilities. HEAP provides assistance to those with incomes below the accepted threshold level and their eligibility is determined by income and the number of people living in the household.
“High home heating bills can offset the delicate balance many New Yorkers already have when it comes to paying for the basics,” said Beth Finkel, State Director for AARP in New York State.  “After last winter’s harsh economic toll on most New Yorkers’ kitchen table economies, we’re urging people who need help and are eligible to sign up before the funds are exhausted.”

A family of four with an annual income of up to $50,629 ($4,219 per month) can qualify for the assistance.

Eligible households can also qualify for an emergency benefit if they are in danger of running out of heating fuel or running the risk of having their utility service shut off. Applications for emergency benefits will be accepted from January 2, 2015.

According to a recent AARP New York survey, three quarters of New York voters aged 50 and older state that heating their homes causes financial strain, while nearly half of those aged 50 or over claim to be extremely or very worried about being able to pay their utility bills in the coming years.
All these stresses, worries and concerns can be traced back to one common root – the high cost of electricity in New York.