Some still waiting on HEAP payments
MONROE COUNTY, N.Y. — If you were expecting a HEAP payment to help with your winter heating bills and it hasn’t come yet, you’re not alone. While local counties are still processing some applications, the concern here in Monroe County is from those who should have automatically been enrolled in the Home Energy Assistance Program but have yet to see the benefit.
Sharon Ebbs doesn’t mind being a little chilly. “I keep the temperature at 62, I’m very conservative, I usually don’t have all these lights on,” she said during an interview with News10NBC on Friday.
Ebbs gets SNAP benefits for groceries and HEAP benefits for help with her utility bill. Last winter, the payment was processed right away. “it was smooth, I don’t recall any glitches,” she says — but this year has been much different.
“I confirmed with a lady at the front desk of Lifespan; she stated that if you’re on SNAP and you received HEAP last year, you’re an automatic in, you do not have to complete an application,” Ebbs recalls.
That is the way it should work — but November, December and January came and went and Ebbs never got a HEAP payment. “I’ve called RG&E, they checked and they said there’s no pending payment,” she says.
Ebbs left a number of messages for the Monroe County Department of Social Services. Someone eventually called her back and left a voicemail, which she shared with News10NBC, saying that sometimes the system “glitches” and they needed her to fill out a paper application this year. She did that and sent it in before Christmas but still hasn’t heard back.
“They’re not returning my calls, ya know and I’m like … why not, just call me to say it’s still on process or just the courtesy,” Ebbs says.
A spokeswoman for Monroe County tells News10NBC that about 60,000 people county-wide should be automatically enrolled in the HEAP program but every year, the system flags between 3,000 and 4,0000 accounts for manual processing. Ebbs is among those pulled for manual processing, something she didn’t know until now. She worries about others who might not realize their HEAP payments have not yet been processed. “Just call to say, we haven’t forgotten you,” she suggests to the county.
If you believe you should have been automatically enrolled in the HEAP program and your payment has not yet been processed, you should be able to reach someone at DSS during business hours at (585) 753-6477.
After News10NBC brought Ebb’s concerns to the county, her application was processed and her payment should be pending.
For more information about the HEAP program: https://otda.ny.gov/programs/heap/#regular-benefit