(a) For purposes of the annual HEAP State Plan, the office will designate a specific period of time during which local districts must receive applications for HEAP benefits. If the office determines that sufficient program and administrative funds are available, the office may extend the period for receiving applications for HEAP benefits beyond the last business day of the specified time period. In the event that the office determines that there are insufficient program and/or administrative funds to continue receiving applications prior to the last business day of the specified time period, the time period for receipt of applications may be correspondingly shortened. Applications for emergency HEAP benefits will be accepted at least until March 15 of each program year. Applications for HEAP benefits must be received and recorded on the State- prescribed form or on a local equivalent form approved by the office. During the designated period of time that local districts receive applications, social services districts must:
(1) assure that no household is denied the opportunity to apply for HEAP;
(2) assure that applicants are provided with clear and detailed information concerning eligibility requirements and types of assistance available under HEAP; and
(3) inform applicants or assure that applicants are informed of their responsibility to provide accurate, complete and current information to establish their eligibility as set forth in section 393.4 of this Part. For a regular HEAP benefit such information must include, but not be limited to, identity, household size, residence, type of energy usage and income from any source. For the emergency benefit it must include the information for a regular HEAP benefit, information on savings or other resources, and information on the absence or impending absence of home energy. This paragraph takes effect November 1, 1987.
(b) An applicant is an individual who, during the program year, has, directly or by a representative, presented a completed application on the State-prescribed form. A head of household who is age 60 or over; a categorically eligible Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipient in receipt of or determined eligible for Retirement, Survivors or Disability Insurance Benefits under title II of the Social Security Act as a result of disability; or is under 60 years old and has received a benefit in the previous HEAP program year and the household includes a vulnerable individual who is an individual under age eight or age 60 or older or permanently disabled has the option of applying in person or mailing an application to the designated county certifier. For purposes of the annual HEAP State Plan, a head of household is defined as a person who has or persons who have primary responsibility for payment of the monthly rent or mortgage for their dwelling unit. A homeowner whose mortgage has been satisfied is considered a head of household. Individuals who contribute a portion of the monthly rent or mortgage to a person responsible for payment of the monthly rent/mortgage for their dwelling unit will not be considered a head of household. Head of household status may also be extended to an individual who is not a head of household where such individual is a spouse of a head of household who is living in the household or who is the surviving spouse of a deceased spouse who was the head of household.
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