AARP NY Lauds Governor for Signing Bill Requiring Link-Up to Utility Payment Benefit for Low-Income NYers

By AARP NY | December 24, 2023

AARP NY Lauds Governor for Signing Bill Requiring Link-Up to Utility Payment Benefit for Low-Income NYers

‘Data Matching’ Will Help Customers Get the Much-Needed Energy Cost Assistance They Qualify For

ALBANY, N.Y. – AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel issued the following statement today on Governor Kathy Hochul signing into law a bill establishing a statewide standardized process for automatically linking low-income New Yorkers to utilities companies’ affordability programs for which they qualify (S4548-Parker/A4876-Solages):

“By requiring key state agencies to ensure eligible residents are enrolled in their utilities’ Energy Affordability Programs (EAPs), this law will help many low-income New Yorkers – including older adults – gain access to federal funds that will help pay their ever-rising monthly gas and electric bills.

“We’re pleased Governor Hochul agreed that more can be done by the State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to match up many more eligible utility customers with the available programs offered by gas and electric utilities in New York State.

“It’s estimated that less than half of the more than 1.2 million eligible households are actually enrolled in their utility company’s EAP. This new law will result in an automatic process to boost EAP enrollment and thus link customers to federal Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) grants, leading to savings for New Yorkers struggling to keep their heat and lights on.

“If all New Yorkers eligible for HEAP were enrolled, it would drive nearly $600 million more in federal aid into the state based on the average HEAP benefit of $485 per year.

“While low-income utility customers will have the opportunity to get some relief on their energy bills, AARP New York is urging the State Legislature and Governor Hochul in the 2024 legislative session to approve legislation that will extend data matching to other federal benefit programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicare Savings Program (MSP).”

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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to the more than 100 million Americans 50-plus and their families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the nation’s largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visitño or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspañol and @AARPadvocates on social media.