In June, New York enacted a moratorium on utility shut-offs for the duration of the COVID state of emergency. People who experienced a change in financial circumstances during the pandemic are entitled to an extra 180-day grace period to enter into a deferred payment agreement with their utility provider or otherwise improve their financial situation.
But utility bills are still due during this time. People who are not able to stay current on their bills during the pandemic may face overwhelming arrears at the end of the state of emergency.
Anyone struggling to pay their utility bills should reach out to their utilities, DSS and local charities for assistance.
The HEAP heating season opens on November 2. People who are receiving ongoing Temporary Assistance (TA) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are income-eligible for HEAP and should be automatically enrolled as long as they meet all other eligibility criteria. Others may be eligible even if they own their own home or have savings in the bank, but they must apply annually.