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Thread: Let's Talk about HEAP, baby.

  1. #1
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    Let's Talk about HEAP, baby.

    An article in today's paper describes the latest "HEAP outreach" to get more people added to the energy and gas assistance plan.

    I did some research on the plan and found some information about HEAP online, as well as the HEAP plan for 2007-2008.

    Apparently anybody who receives food stamps is eligible, anybody whose family makes 60% of the state median income or less (in 2004 for a family of four it was ~40k), any family with people on food stamps, etc etc etc.

    There are complicated formulas to determine the monthly benefit (pg 13-14).

    What I find interesting is the program started in 1981 in response to the OPEC embargo. Why did the program get continued if it was supposed to be a temporary fund? Also, are food stamps and medicaid expenses counted as income for the purpose of this program? For example, a $300 a month heating bill may not be such a big deal if a family is having all their food provided for, transportation, as well as medical expenses, etc etc. What happened to setting the thermometer to 62 and wearing sweaters? There also appears to be no directive for discontinuing assistance after a set period of time. Does this mean a person is actually "encouraged" to remain below the income levels/unemployed or work off the books for an extended period of time, or life, just to remain on food stamps/benefits? Do programs like this breed dependency and continue the cycle of poverty?

    Discuss away.

  2. #2
    Member Eat My Gun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoreOfTheSame
    An article in today's paper describes the latest "HEAP outreach" to get more people added to the energy and gas assistance plan.

    I did some research on the plan and found some information about HEAP online, as well as the HEAP plan for 2007-2008.

    Apparently anybody who receives food stamps is eligible, anybody whose family makes 60% of the state median income or less (in 2004 for a family of four it was ~40k), any family with people on food stamps, etc etc etc.

    There are complicated formulas to determine the monthly benefit (pg 13-14).

    What I find interesting is the program started in 1981 in response to the OPEC embargo. Why did the program get continued if it was supposed to be a temporary fund? Also, are food stamps and medicaid expenses counted as income for the purpose of this program? For example, a $300 a month heating bill may not be such a big deal if a family is having all their food provided for, transportation, as well as medical expenses, etc etc. What happened to setting the thermometer to 62 and wearing sweaters? There also appears to be no directive for discontinuing assistance after a set period of time. Does this mean a person is actually "encouraged" to remain below the income levels/unemployed or work off the books for an extended period of time, or life, just to remain on food stamps/benefits? Do programs like this breed dependency and continue the cycle of poverty?

    Discuss away.
    "Temporary Program" is as much an oxymoron as "Temporary Tax."

    On multiple occasions, I've had the distinct pleasure of spending time in HEAP assisted homes during the winter months. Funny how the "poor" can keep their heat at 80 degrees while us working folk have to keep our thermostats significantly lower.

    The only poor people in America are the ones who work, get taxed, and don't qualify for any government assistance...


    "I won't live by rules that make no sense to me." - Evan Tanner 1971-2008

    Transfixus sed non Mortuus

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eat My Gun

    On multiple occasions, I've had the distinct pleasure of spending time in HEAP assisted homes during the winter months. Funny how the "poor" can keep their heat at 80 degrees while us working folk have to keep our thermostats significantly lower.
    Many office buildings have those plastic cages that fit around the thermostat, or they are electronically controlled. I wonder if it could be made a condition of going on HEAP that the thermostats are set to a max of 70 (which I feel is more than reasonable, considering mine never goes above 63) and then locked in those plastic or metal cages, subject to random inspection for tampering.

    Somebody will probably give me a reason why that would not work though.

  4. #4
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    Heap Somma Dat Do' On Me

    Quote Originally Posted by MoreOfTheSame
    Many office buildings have those plastic cages that fit around the thermostat, or they are electronically controlled. I wonder if it could be made a condition of going on HEAP that the thermostats are set to a max of 70 (which I feel is more than reasonable, considering mine never goes above 63) and then locked in those plastic or metal cages, subject to random inspection for tampering.

    Somebody will probably give me a reason why that would not work though.
    THEY GOTTA KEEP IT WARM...or else their tropical plants will die!

  5. #5
    Member concernedwnyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eat My Gun
    "Temporary Program" is as much an oxymoron as "Temporary Tax."

    On multiple occasions, I've had the distinct pleasure of spending time in HEAP assisted homes during the winter months. Funny how the "poor" can keep their heat at 80 degrees while us working folk have to keep our thermostats significantly lower.

    The only poor people in America are the ones who work, get taxed, and don't qualify for any government assistance...

    Yep. People who get the benefits do tend to take advantage of them.......
    These programs are a reward for the poor... If you are in between where you could use some assistance too you cannot get it. Fill out the form they want to know EVERYTHING... BANK FINANCIALS. INVESTMENTS, NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN HOUSE. Proof of income is not enough... They want to make sure you are sucked dry. Then you are given a gold ticket to paradise island if approved......

  6. #6
    Member concernedwnyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoreOfTheSame
    Many office buildings have those plastic cages that fit around the thermostat, or they are electronically controlled. I wonder if it could be made a condition of going on HEAP that the thermostats are set to a max of 70 (which I feel is more than reasonable, considering mine never goes above 63) and then locked in those plastic or metal cages, subject to random inspection for tampering.

    Somebody will probably give me a reason why that would not work though.

    I do not think HEAP applies to businesses..... The plastic lock boxes are more for employees so the temp is not raiased or lowered. Modern buildings have HVAC that are remotely set and locked.


  7. #7
    Member Aaron O'Brian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eat My Gun
    "Temporary Program" is as much an oxymoron as "Temporary Tax."

    On multiple occasions, I've had the distinct pleasure of spending time in HEAP assisted homes during the winter months. Funny how the "poor" can keep their heat at 80 degrees while us working folk have to keep our thermostats significantly lower.

    The only poor people in America are the ones who work, get taxed, and don't qualify for any government assistance...
    Four or five years ago my wife and I applied for HEAP. We were going through some rough financial times. It really helped us a lot that year. We didn't jack the heat up either - 50 degrees when we were out of the house and 60-65 when we came home. We turned in down when we slept too. Not all HEAP users keep their thermostat on 80.

    HEAP is a good program for the working poor. It's too bad some abuse it.

  8. #8
    Unregistered Enough's Avatar
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    The one thing about HEAP that bothers me is how "they" ask you to donate but then you see this regarding political donations from National Fuel:

    http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/se...tAll=Y&Order=N

    Results: 197 records found in 0.3125 seconds.


    Total for this search: $65,517
    Search Criteria:
    Donor occupation: National Fuel
    Donor State: NY
    Cycle(s) selected: All

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron O'Brian
    Four or five years ago my wife and I applied for HEAP. We were going through some rough financial times. It really helped us a lot that year. We didn't jack the heat up either - 50 degrees when we were out of the house and 60-65 when we came home. We turned in down when we slept too. Not all HEAP users keep their thermostat on 80.

    HEAP is a good program for the working poor. It's too bad some abuse it.
    Yeah, but you seem reasonable. I've got a friend who works and her husband is unemployed. Not living high off the hog by any means. They have HEAP and they need it because like most of us, they're shelling out hefty gas bills. They probably represent the majority of heap users (no data on this however). However, it is very easy to demonize those recipients who do abuse the system as evidenced by the use of language in post titles.

    You may as well invoke images of Brer Rabbit and Bosko based on what some people say.

    Nobody mentions the $2.5M salary of the top 10 execs at Nat. Fuel, sucking away on your dime, nah, that's a more difficult fish to fry for some of the cro-magnons. Better to blame the poor heap recipients rather than the wealthy ones...

    Rather than argue for publicly controlled utilities we beat up on heap recipients. Imagine, for instance if the public could "regulate" the utility and control salaries of utility employees. So that a meter reader wouldn't earn $70K a year, or a CEO wouldn't earn $2.5M, etc etc. But yeah, let's blame heap recipients, that's very effective.

    How about this...how about National Fuel offers these heap recipients jobs to work off their gas bill? Hmmm...but that might displace someone eh...hmmm...does our society *need* an underclass...hmmm...

  10. #10
    Member citymouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoreOfTheSame
    An article in today's paper describes the latest "HEAP outreach" to get more people added to the energy and gas assistance plan.

    I did some research on the plan and found some information about HEAP online, as well as the HEAP plan for 2007-2008.

    Apparently anybody who receives food stamps is eligible, anybody whose family makes 60% of the state median income or less (in 2004 for a family of four it was ~40k), any family with people on food stamps, etc etc etc.

    There are complicated formulas to determine the monthly benefit (pg 13-14).

    What I find interesting is the program started in 1981 in response to the OPEC embargo. Why did the program get continued if it was supposed to be a temporary fund? Also, are food stamps and medicaid expenses counted as income for the purpose of this program? For example, a $300 a month heating bill may not be such a big deal if a family is having all their food provided for, transportation, as well as medical expenses, etc etc. What happened to setting the thermometer to 62 and wearing sweaters? There also appears to be no directive for discontinuing assistance after a set period of time. Does this mean a person is actually "encouraged" to remain below the income levels/unemployed or work off the books for an extended period of time, or life, just to remain on food stamps/benefits? Do programs like this breed dependency and continue the cycle of poverty?

    Discuss away.

    Forty thousand a year for a family of four , while not considered poverty is not affluent by any means. Sfter taxes that breaks down to about thirty two thousand. Eight thousand a year per person.
    Can you live on eight thousand a year?
    The cost of health care for a family of four, rent, groceries, an automobile, insurance, and don't forget gasoline. Now lets get to gas and electric.
    In this area there are not a lot of jobs for young husbands, particularly with out much more than a high school education. NAFTA and the WTO has seen to that.
    Not every one is college material and those that are tend to leave rather than work ten dollar an hour jobs in service industries.
    We need more programs like heap, not less. The goverment helped to create this situation by allowing those agreements. They were in a big hurry for a global economy. If they didn't see this coming shame on them.
    Now we as taxpayers pay the price.
    "If you want to know what God thinks of money just look at the people he gave it to."

    By the way, what happened to biker? I miss the old coot.

  11. #11
    Member concernedwnyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Genoobie
    Yeah, but you seem reasonable. I've got a friend who works and her husband is unemployed. Not living high off the hog by any means. They have HEAP and they need it because like most of us, they're shelling out hefty gas bills. They probably represent the majority of heap users (no data on this however). However, it is very easy to demonize those recipients who do abuse the system as evidenced by the use of language in post titles.

    You may as well invoke images of Brer Rabbit and Bosko based on what some people say.

    Nobody mentions the $2.5M salary of the top 10 execs at Nat. Fuel, sucking away on your dime, nah, that's a more difficult fish to fry for some of the cro-magnons. Better to blame the poor heap recipients rather than the wealthy ones...

    Rather than argue for publicly controlled utilities we beat up on heap recipients. Imagine, for instance if the public could "regulate" the utility and control salaries of utility employees. So that a meter reader wouldn't earn $70K a year, or a CEO wouldn't earn $2.5M, etc etc. But yeah, let's blame heap recipients, that's very effective.

    How about this...how about National Fuel offers these heap recipients jobs to work off their gas bill? Hmmm...but that might displace someone eh...hmmm...does our society *need* an underclass...hmmm...

    Oh oh...... I just got a flash back of that commercial for small business loan where the big exec is being annoyed by the "little" people for a business loan. In one the little person is used as a football and pinged through make up field goal poles....

    Don't be a little person Genoobie, big execs have a hefty appetite at dinner time and they need to keep warm....

    In the future there may be robots to detect emotinal low levels in people and
    will ultimatetly decide on wheather to terminate the person or stifle the person into a zomby like state.

    Lower the thermistat or look for thicker blankets.





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    Your ire is misdirected. How about attacking the company who says that these natural resources belong to them and charge as much as they can for this necessity. Nation Fuel and HEAP have a very nice relationship.
    It's not the poor stealing from you.
    The evil hide even when no one is chasing them.- Proverbs

  13. #13
    Member BuffaloEMT14216's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron O'Brian
    Four or five years ago my wife and I applied for HEAP. We were going through some rough financial times. It really helped us a lot that year. We didn't jack the heat up either - 50 degrees when we were out of the house and 60-65 when we came home. We turned in down when we slept too. Not all HEAP users keep their thermostat on 80.

    HEAP is a good program for the working poor. It's too bad some abuse it.

    It does help. My wife and I did the same thing. These doubles in North Buffalo kill you on heating costs. The problem according to my father is that when they removed the old octopus furnaces in the 50's and 60's, A) They never reinforced the foundations correctly and B) Never put new systems in that could do the job of heating the house as the old ones did.
    A programmable thermostat helps somewhat, as well as plastic on the windows(unless you have cats like I do), and leave the thermostat at 60.
    Yet these costs are just still out of hand.
    But as you said, with any program for the common good comes abuse. It's true of any program.
    It's just like I was looking into tax credits and rebates this year. My wife and I have two children so we were looking into the child tax credit, and credits along with schooling, etc. We just recently had our 2nd child so I wanted to see if anything is deductible.
    Did you know that a woman cannot deduct items such as maternity clothing, nursing materials, etc...but you can deduct a legal abortion! Didn't know people keep that receipt on the top of the stack! Unbelievable.
    Be advised, I'm mean nasty and tired. I eat concertina wire and piss napalm and I could put a round through a fleas ass at 300 meters. So why don't you hump somebody else's leg mutt-face before I push yours in. (Heartbreak Ridge)

  14. #14
    Member concernedwnyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevenco
    Your ire is misdirected. How about attacking the company who says that these natural resources belong to them and charge as much as they can for this necessity. Nation Fuel and HEAP have a very nice relationship.
    It's not the poor stealing from you.

    Well, when you go outside with your shovel and pick axe and start digging down to hit a gas pocket you might have an argument to who owns the resource but since they are doing all the work and paying to do the work I guess we are just screwed.... Actually, even if you did find gas pocket on your land I think you still need to get permits and in some way NYS would be involved so you are still screwed....

    Lower the thermistat, get thicker blankets, and don't forget to thank the gas company for letting you have some natural gas...

    What are your thoughts on OPEC???? Do I dare ask........

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by citymouse
    Forty thousand a year for a family of four , while not considered poverty is not affluent by any means. Sfter taxes that breaks down to about thirty two thousand. Eight thousand a year per person.
    Can you live on eight thousand a year?
    I lived on 8 grand a year (sometimes less) my first years in graduate school. I managed. No government assistance.

    Quote Originally Posted by citymouse
    Not every one is college material and those that are tend to leave rather than work ten dollar an hour jobs in service industries.
    We need more programs like heap, not less. The goverment helped to create this situation by allowing those agreements. They were in a big hurry for a global economy. If they didn't see this coming shame on them.
    Now we as taxpayers pay the price.
    Agreed, some government policies create these problems. But what should the people impacted by them do about it? Live off government assistance their whole life?

    I agree not everybody is "college material" but then again not everybody is "trade school" material, not everybody is cut out to operate heavy machinery, nor cut out for life in the police, fire service or the military. Most people have specialties that they are good at or can be if they work at it.

    You don't need to work at Wendys if you develop your skills appropriately. Remember the thread about skilled stonemason workers at the Statler pulling in $24 an hour or more laying marble or operating equipment? You can make more money at that then many college graduates.

    In addition, I respectfully disagree with your comment about many people leaving rather than sticking around. If this is so, how come I see many young, able bodied people on welfare/public assistance on the bus/train every day (based on their possession of Red Reduced Fare cards or their conversations with each other?)

    Those benefits have to be paid for. Everybody wants to help out reasonable people like those in Aaron O'Brian's story who are down on their luck because that could happen to anybody even you or me. What they don't want (usually) is to support multi-generational recipients or people who only continue the cycle of poverty. If the expenses spent on the second get too far out of hand then people will (or are they already) leave the area because taxes are so high. It will either be the stonemasons who can command $24 an hour or the folks on public assistance -- guess which ones? Somebody always has to pay the freight.

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