ELMIRA, NY (WETM)- As of today, applications are now live for those wanting to apply for the Home Energy Assistance Program, known as ‘HEAP.’

HEAP provides up to 976 dollars to low to middle-income households and senior citizens. The program is funded by the federal government. Last winter, almost two million benefits were issued, which is the most in the past five years. If you have never applied for the heating assistance program, it can seem like a difficult task. The first step, and the easiest way is to visit NY.gov, from there you’ll be able to select ‘apply now’ and begin the process. The application process doesn’t take long, and if need be, you can have an authorized representation help you fill it out.

Now, the application doesn’t only have to be filled out online. It can also be done in person or by mail-in. If you choose to go one of those routes, you’ll need to submit the application to your HEAP local district contact, if you aren’t sure what that may-be you can visit the website and select your county.

If you’ve already started the application process or have applied in the past, you can visit the MyBenefits website to pick up where you left off or sign in. You can apply for HEAP, no matter how you heat your home.

If the high heating bills are worrying you, experts say there are some steps you can try to help heat your home for less. First, close any windows or cracks in the walls that may let heat escape, second set your thermostat lower when you’re not home, and finally consider lowering that temperature levels on your hot water tank.