Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - Although winter is weeks away, some Central New Yorkers are already preparing for the colder weather.
Monday was the first day that people could apply for this season’s Home Energy Assistance Program.
This year, the state is handling the benefit differently. This year, each recipient will be given all of his or her benefits in a one-time sum.
Those who qualify and heat with oil, kerosene, or propane can expect to receive $600.
Anyone who uses wood, coal, or another deliverable fuel can receive $500.
Those that use natural gas or electric will receive $400.
But Social Services officials are stressing that the benefit will only be received once this season.
"We tell them right up front, this is all you're going to receive. Try to pay your bills, they can go down and make a payment agreement with National Grid, try to budget their income on a monthly basis,” said Assistant Commissioner of Social Service for Onondaga County Ava Kerznowski.
A family can receive up to an extra $50 in HEAP benefits if they have someone young or older staying with them.
More information on HEAP – including rates – is available on the state's website