New York has been teased by some mild temperatures so far this winter, however, the worst of winter is nowhere near over. As a matter of fact, the brunt of it is on the way. Are you prepared?

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Beth, an Upstate New York resident and single mom told Townsquare Media that her electric bill went from $182 in November to $391 in December. Brian showed us a copy of his electric bill which jumped up $100 in December and his household actually used less energy.

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Thanks to increasing utility rates, the federal government has funneled an additional $63 million dollars into New York State's Home Energy Assistance Program. The extra money from the federal government brings the total up to $412 million dollars to provide both homeowners and renters with up to $1,126 in help to cover heating bills.

If your household is struggling to keep the lights on and you’re at a safe temperature for winter weather, there is a chance that you could be eligible for emergency heating assistance from New York state. Eligibility and benefits are based on a variety of factors including "income, household size, the primary heating source, and the presence of a household member who is under age 6, age 60 or older, or permanently disabled."

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The first step is to check if you're eligible for HEAP. If you do qualify for HEAP assistance, applications are accepted at your local department of social services which you can do in person or by phone. Funding will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.

If your household heats with oil, kerosene, or propane and you're eligible, you will receive a base payment of $1,050. Those who heat with wood, wood pellets, coal, or corn, will receive $685; and those that heat with electricity or natural gas will receive $500.

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