Seniors, low-income families to get less energy assistance

Seniors and low-incomes families are in for a tough winter following the decrease in assistance available through the Heating Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), coupled with an expected 30-percent increase in home heating oil prices. The Departments of Social Services (DSS) in both Nassau and Suffolk counties say the federal government is to blame for providing less money for HEAP. Now, instead of a household getting $700 toward its heating bill, it will be getting around $450. Meanwhile, home heating oil prices are expected to rise 33 cents a gallon. Suffolk County DSS Commissioner Greg Blass says the government is also delaying the start of HEAP from Nov. 1 to Nov. 16."If it's cold weather, that's going to be harmful for people who need heat for their homes to survive," he says. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) is pushing for the passage of legislation that would provide New York with $428 million in HEAP funding this year.

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