Costs of energy, especially heating, may represent a real burden for families on a budget. Families with middle or low income, or residents who encounter economic hardships, such as recent layoffs, bereavement and similar life events that can drastically lower their household income, may take advantage of a number of government- and non-government-funded initiatives to get financial assistance for fuel oil, heating system maintenance, repair and replacement and home insulation.

Available Assistance Programs for Long Islanders

heating oil assistance long island1. LOW-INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (LIHEAP) is a Federal social assistance program funded through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and administered by local governments. Qualified households may receive up to $600 per season, with possible add-ons, depending on their eligibility. There are three levels o assistance offered through LIHEAP.

  • Regular Benefits: Financial help for those who have been already in a hard financial situation. The funds are $600 plus possible add-ons, depending on the eligibility levels.
  • Emergency Benefits: Apply to those who are hit by disastrous events such as severe storms, hurricanes, earthquakes or major fires. The benefit may be up to $600 depending on the emergency type.
  • Furnace Repair and Replacement. These costs are covered fully or partially, depending on the each household’s situation.

Eligibility criteria for LIHEAP assistance are based on household income levels. To qualify for assistance, a household must have less than 150% of federal poverty state level. Income levels are counted on size of the household. Currently, highest possible income (before taxes) to qualify for LIHEAP is $17,655 for a single person, plus $6.240 for each additional person living in a household.

To apply for LIHEAP assistance you can call (516) 565-4327 in Nassau or (516) 227-8987 for senior citizens and (631) 853-8825 in Suffolk. You can also apply online.

2. NYSERDA HEATING SYSTEM CLEAN AND TUNE PROGRAM is funded by the State of New York for all LIHEAP qualified households. These funds cover the costs of home heating system cleaning and tune-ups. There is also a possibility to receive funds for justifiable repairs and minor part replacements. This program is offered through registered heating system service companies.  Additional save is achieved through lower fuel consumption of properly tuned and maintained heating systems.  Proper maintenance is required to make heating system energy efficient. This primarily applies to oil heating systems, which can last very long if properly maintained.

3. PROJECT WARMTH is an emergency fuel fund, managed by L.I. United Way division which is a non-profit charity receiving funds from corporate and individual contributors. Project Warmth helps those fulfilling criteria similar to LIHEAP ones. This initiative covers only costs of fuel (or electricity used for heating) and is open for grants from December 1st until funds are spent. To learn the exact criteria ad get some more info on this program, call (631) 940-3757.

Project Warmth is specially meant for those who encounter financial difficulties, but can’t qualify for any of the government initiatives. Since government only takes income into account for eligibility, many families with high expenses struggle to heat their homes due to increasing costs of living. Some households can also be applying for HEAP programs too late, just to find that funds are exhausted. Project Warmth program opens in December, weeks after any of the HEAP programs, allowing better opportunities for those forced to seek help in the second half of the heating season.

4. Residential Energy Affordability Partnership (REAP) – Saving money is not just about getting assistance for fuel. People in need for financial assistance often lose much due to inability to invest in energy efficiency. The REAP program includes a complete energy audit of qualified homes – which includes heating systems and all electric consuming equipment, with needed funds to make that home more energy efficient. This includes installing weather-stripping, caulking, CFL bulbs and other energy-efficient technologies. This all would result in a lower heating fuel cost, lower electricity bill and healthier home environment.

REAP covers all costs of energy saving measures applied in the homes of those who qualify. Other than technical audit and improvements, technicians will talk to household members about their lifestyle and other habits which may influence overall energy consumption. Based upon all data collected through measurements and interviewing, they will give an outline on amount of money which can be saved by applying all measures.

5. MIDDLE INCOME HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (MIHEAP). This is a program available only for Suffolk county residents. MIHEAP is less restrictive than LIHEAP, and the eligibility is attained at a 35% higher income level than federal and state LIHEAP max income. All other conditions match those of LIHEAP. For more info and how to apply, call (631) 854-2368.

6. JOE-4-OIL – The Oil Heat Program offers free heating oil to people in financial need who can’t afford to pay their heating bills. Each eligible household is allowed a one-time delivery per heating season of 100 gallons of home heating oil for free. You are eligible if you have a financial hardship and need help paying your heating bills. There are no citizenship requirements. You do not need proof of immigration status. To request an application please call 1-877-JOE-4-OIL.

7. COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION OF LONG ISLAND (CDCLI). This organization offers a Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) to help low-income citizens, primarily the elderly and disabled in making their homes energy efficient. This program is funded by the US Department of Energy and Department of Health and Human Services, and is administered by the state authorities. Qualified income levels are mentioned in their Guideline and cover heating system tune-up, cleaning, repair, weather-stripping, caulking, wall, doors and windows insulation, repair or replacement of broken doors and windows and hot water heater replacement. On average, a household where this program is applied managed to lower its energy consumption by 22%.  For more info call (631) 471-1215, ext. 172.

Possible services include:

▪ complete heating system clean and tune, repair when necessary

▪ weather stripping, caulking, and air sealing to eliminate drafts

▪ attic, wall and basement insulation when necessary

▪ broken window and primary door repair / replacement when necessary

▪ hot water heater replacement

8. NYSERDA’s EmPower New York Program – NYSERD’s EmPoer porgram provides no-cost energy efficiency solutions to income-eligible New Yorkers both homeowners and renters. More than 94,600 of your neighbors are saving energy and saving money with EmPower New York— without spending a dime.  They will determine if your home would benefit from improved insulation, reduced drafts, and all at no cost to you. On-site energy education offers clients additional tips and strategies on how to better manage your energy usage on a daily basis. You can download an application here.

For all these programs, applicants need to offer a proof of income of all household members, exact number of residents and a proof that they own or rent the property. Other conditions are power or heating fuel bills to justify the needed amount of fuel (this applies only to fuel assistance programs).