LIFE Webinar Series Archive Page

To further the dialogue between stakeholders throughout the low-income community, the Low-Income Forum on Energy (LIFE) is proud to host the LIFE Webinar Series.  The LIFE Webinar Series serves as a venue for communicating information on assistance programs and current topics relevant to the low-income field to those involved in addressing the energy needs of low-income energy consumers.  The webinar series is open to all and is available at no cost.

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Use the links below to view previous webinars.  

Overview of Emergency Energy Benefits Available through the Departments of Social Services

Saima Akhtar and Ray Burke, Empire Justice Center

Tuesday, July 26, 2016
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET

Assisting low-income New Yorkers in finding all of the resources available to them is an essential part of what those in the human service field provide. This session will help attendees navigate that process by providing an overview of emergency and energy assistance benefits available to low-income households through their local Departments of Social Services and discuss advocating for clients to receive the full benefits to which they are entitled.

NIST's Planning Guide for Improving Community Disaster Resilience

Erich Gunther, National Institute of Standards and Technology Disaster Research Fellow
Ronda Mosley, Public Technology Institute

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET

Low-income populations tend to be especially vulnerable to extreme weather, earthquakes, and other hazards that inflict tremendous costs. Although communities can't stop natural hazards and have only limited ability to prevent technological- and human-caused hazards from occurring, they can minimize disastrous consequences through better planning and becoming more resilient. Certainly, a robust physical infrastructure is vital in delivering energy to communities and in minimizing disruption from these hazards. But energy systems also depend on -- and are crucial to -- other parts of the community's built environment, including physical infrastructures. A new Planning Guide from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) provides a practical approach to help communities set priorities and allocate resources to improve their resilience.

During this webinar, representatives of NIST and the Public Technology Institute will review the Guide, with a focus on energy systems as they relate to low-income communities. In addition, the audience will be introduced to the Community Resilience Panel for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems, a new nonprofit panel that will recommend approaches and best practices that communities can use as they seek to become more resilient.

FEMA's America's PrepareAthon and American Red Cross' Home Fire Preparedness Campaign

Eric Goldman (contractor), FEMA Region 2 and James Segerson, American Red Cross

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET

Representatives from FEMA and the American Red Cross join the LIFE Webinar Series to discuss two initiatives important to low-income community resiliency.

Every community experiences emergencies and severe weather, yet fewer than 50% of Americans feel prepared to handle a disaster. Research has shown knowing what to do when a disaster strikes is critical, especially when seconds matter the most. But it takes practice. Practicing what to do, where to go and how to stay safe during an emergency empowers individuals and the entire community. America's PrepareAthon! was launched in 2013 as a national, grassroots campaign for action to increase community preparedness and resilience through hazard-specific drills, group discussions, and exercises. The goals of the campaign are to increase the number of individuals who:
* Understand which disasters could happen in their community
* Know what to do to be safe and mitigate damage
* Take action to increase their preparedness
* Participate in community resilience planning

Home fires are the greatest disaster threat to American families. Seven people die every day from home fires. A fire-related injury is reported every 40 minutes. Annually, home fires cause 2,500 deaths and roughly $7 billion in property damage. The Home Fire Preparedness Campaign aims to save lives, reduce injuries and build more resilient communities through raising awareness, facilitating preventative actions, and fostering community participation. The national goal is a 25% reduction in home fire deaths and injuries in the next five years.

Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) National Evaluations

Bruce Tonn, Three3, Inc.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET

The U.S. Department of Energy sponsored two multiyear peer-reviewed national evaluations of the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP), resulting in a statement of positive outcomes showing the program is strong and continues to operate in a cost-effective manner with many ancillary benefits such as good health, safety, and employment support. The evaluation efforts were led by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and are divided among a Retrospective Evaluation and a Recovery Act Evaluation. Both evaluations will be discussed.

Impact of Supplier Choice Programs on LIHEAP Clients and LIHEAP Agencies

Aimee Gendusa-English, Citizens Utility Board of Illinois

Tuesday, January 26, 2016
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET

Citizens Utility Board (CUB) of Illinois will provide an overview of what gas and electric deregulation is and what states have it now or will have it soon. CUB has found that in Illinois most consumers do not save money with alternative suppliers, and low-income customers are disproportionately affected in a variety of ways. CUB will illustrate how deregulation works in Illinois, highlight the biggest issues advocates have faced and how some have been resolved. The presentation will also illustrate the issues LIHEAP staff and LIHEAP clients face when it comes to processing applications from customers with third-party suppliers and how posting funds to such accounts can increase labor and drain funds.

NY-Sun's Affordable Solar Program

Michelle Andry, NYSERDA

Wednesday, December 16, 2015
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET

In October 2015, NYSERDA's NY-Sun program launched Affordable Solar, to expand solar energy access to households most in need of the electricity cost reductions that solar provides. Affordable Solar doubles NYSERDA incentives for residential solar projects for households earning less than 80 percent of the area or state median income, which often lack access to sufficient up-front capital to purchase a solar installation. This webinar will focus on the details of Affordable Solar, including program requirements and the application process. In addition, strategies for integrating Affordable Solar with existing community and regional efforts to increase low-income participation and benefit from clean energy such as solar will be discussed. Finally, the presentation will provide an update on the recent rollout of Community Distributed Generation by the NYS Public Service Commission, which is expected to reduce many of the barriers to solar participation for low-income households and renters through "shared solar."

Zero Net Energy Affordable Housing in Vermont

Elizabeth Chant, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation
Allison Donovan, Vermont Energy Investment Corporation

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET

In 2012, Tropical Storm Irene tore through Vermont, wreaking more destruction on mobile homes than other housing type. Mobile and manufactured homes are an important part of Vermont's affordable housing stock, and the effort to rebuild focused on creating something that was more durable, affordable, and sustainable. Affordable housing providers partnered with energy efficiency experts and a modular home builder to create the VerMod, which is a modular home built to fit on the footprint of a mobile home. With solar PV, the home is net zero in energy use, even in Vermont's harsh winter climate. Most important, this all-electric healthy home can be financed as real property. Vermont is well into its program, with more than two dozen homes placed, and the team is now working to bring the model to other states.

HEAP Updates for the 2015-2016 Heating Season

Presenter:Andrew Bryk, Center for Employment and Economic Supports, NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance

Tuesday, October 27, 2015
1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET

The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is a federally funded program that issues heating benefits to supplement a household’s annual energy cost. The program also offers an emergency benefit for households in a heat or heat‐related emergency. This webinar provides updates on HEAP for 2015-2016 heating season.

Building a Statewide Anti-Poverty Network

Presenters: Serena Rice, New Jersey Anti-Poverty Network
Jim Jacob, New Jersey SHARES

Wednesday, September 16, 2015
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET

What can be done to start, continue, and grow a successful anti-poverty network that draws on the possibilities of as many like-minded organizations and individuals as possible? How does such a network take action to achieve the objective of reducing and ending poverty? What lessons can be learned from those who are currently engaged with an anti-poverty network? Join Serena Rice, Executive Director of the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey, and Jim Jacob, CEO of New Jersey SHARES, to discuss best practices for maintaining an anti-poverty network. The Anti-Poverty Network of Network of New Jersey (APN) is a nonprofit membership organization that seeks the prevention, reduction, and end of poverty in New Jersey. APN works to address both the causes and consequences of poverty through five core strategic activities: information sharing; community education; partnership building; providing a framework for public discourse on the causes, effects, and remedies of poverty; and advocating for effective policies and programs. New Jersey SHARES (NJS) is a statewide non-profit corporation providing assistance to individuals and families in need of help meeting their energy and utility burden. Through advocacy, community outreach, education, information and referral, NJS connects low and moderate income households with available resources to meet their ongoing needs.

Implications of Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act for Low-Income Communities

Presenters: Skip Arnold, Energy Outreach Colorado
Jennifer Gremmert, Energy Outreach Colorado
Chris Hickling, Edison Electric Institute
Emily Fisher, Edison Electric Institute

Wednesday, August 19, 2015
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET

The national Clean Air Act requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and enforce regulations to combat a variety of air pollution problems and to establish air quality standards for certain common and widespread pollutants. Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act specifically calls for the reduction of certain pollutant emissions from existing sources, including power plants. Under Section 111(d) of the Act, EPA has proposed greenhouse gas reduction goals for a fleet of existing fossil fuel-fired power plants in the states. Once the EPA proposal is final, individual states will be required to adopt enforceable plans to achieve these goals. However, the goals and implementation strategies intended to reduce these emissions will differ among states and, therefore, among regions and communities in those states. Join representatives of Energy Outreach Colorado and the Edison Electric Institute for a discussion about the implications of Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act for low-income communities.

Community in Action: An Energy Education Opportunity

Presenters: Kelly Flowers, National Energy Foundation; Gary Swan, National Energy Foundation; Mary Thompson Grassi, National Energy Foundation

Wednesday, July 29, 2015
1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. ET

Community in Action is an educational opportunity where people in the local neighborhood learn about energy and energy efficiency. Schools earn an educational grant for hosting with additional grant dollars earned based on participation. At these one-hour workshops, participants learn about: * Explore prepaid service technology,* Look at case studies from the U.S. and abroad, * Discuss the policy objectives and benefits that have been associated with prepaid service, * Identify consumer protections needed to ensure that the integrity of participants' home energy security is retained, and * Review the menu of program and policy options available to achieve objectives identified by prepaid service proponents. In addition, participants receive energy efficiency kits with which to put their new knowledge into action in their homes and neighborhoods. Join Kelly Flowers, Gary Swan, and Mary Thompson Grassi of the National Energy Foundation to learn about the Community in Action workshop model and share ideas about how similar workshops might be best implemented in New York State communities.

Prepaid Electricity Utility Service: The Need for Essential Consumer Protections

Presenter: John Howat, National Consumer Law Center

Wednesday, June 24, 2015
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET

With the installation of increasing numbers of digital electric meters with remote disconnection capabilities, some utilities are considering whether to propose implementation of prepaid service programs. With prepaid service, customers pay in advance for service and face remote disconnection soon after prepaid credits are exhausted. In this webinar we will: • Explore prepaid service technology, • Look at case studies from the U.S. and abroad, • Discuss the policy objectives and benefits that have been associated with prepaid service, • Identify consumer protections needed to ensure that the integrity of participants’ home energy security is retained, and • Review the menu of program and policy options available to achieve objectives identified by prepaid service proponents. Please join in to consider what essential consumer protections are necessary when considering the implementation of prepaid electricity utility service.

Citizens Utility Board of Illinois’ Innovative Utility Bill Clinic Model

Presenter: Aimee Gendusa-English, Citizens Utility Board of Illinois

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
1:30-2:30 pm ET

The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) of Illinois is an independent, nonprofit watchdog group tasked with protecting utility ratepayers from unnecessary costs. In its 30 year history, CUB has saved consumers more than $20 billion by blocking rate hikes and winning refunds, pushing for tougher consumer protection laws, and tireless public information and education campaigns, prompting the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to call CUB “(t)he gold standard for consumer groups nationally”.  

One of CUB’s most popular services is called a “Utility Bill Clinic”. These events evolved to help consumers navigate the pitfalls of phone, gas and electric deregulation, and public interest grew as Illinois adopted advanced metering infrastructure and expanded energy efficiency incentive programs.  Clinics center around one-on-one utility bill reviews, in which CUB staff screen bills for unnecessary charges, expensive rates, and high energy consumption. Strong partnerships with LIHEAP offices and Public Housing Authorities suggest that clinics may draw greater turnout and yield more demonstrable results than some initiatives specifically targeted at low-income households. In this session, CUB explains how framing events  in terms of  “spotting hidden fees” and “avoiding scams” draws consumers who  might not normally attend a seminar about “energy efficiency”. Moreover, CUB will provide examples of how the individualized format fosters teachable moments and creates opportunities to make household-specific suggestions for reducing energy consumption, and often concludes with directly enrolling client accounts in a variety of efficiency programs.

Low-Income Consumer Decision Making

Presenters: Nat Treadway, Distributed Energy Financial Group, LLC and Judith Schwartz, To the Point

Tuesday, January 20, 2015
1:30-2:30 pm ET

Distributed Energy Financial Group’s Low Income Energy Issues Forum is focused on innovative and integrated policies and approaches that help close the widening gap between what vulnerable energy consumers can pay and their current utility bills. The Forum is comprised of utilities, regulators, energy assistance administrators and others who are taking a fresh look at the best ways to provide utility services and bill payment assistance to low-income energy consumers. This webinar will examine low-income customer decision making in the context of current regulatory practices and highlight seven elements that appear to consistently yield the greatest possibilities for success.

Best Practices for Low-Income Energy Assistance Programs

Presenters: Donna Boyce, Jean Snopkowski, and Eric Sequin of Solix, Inc.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. ET

Solix will examine best practices for program oversight and management in low-income energy assistance programs. Through both “certification” (initial enrollment) and “re-certification (continued enrollment), Solix has designed and implemented technologies and processes to ensure qualification is accurate, efficient, and able to stand up to the most thorough compliance audit.

Navigating New York State's Oil Heat Industry

Presenter: Kevin Rooney, Oil Heat Institute of Long Island
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. ET

Join the LIFE Webinar Series for a conversation with Kevin Rooney, long-time CEO of the Oil Heat Institute of Long Island on what this winter has in store for New York’s oil heating consumers. Kevin will discuss heating oil supply, price, and weather projections. In addition, he will provide simple, inexpensive, cost-effective weatherization and energy conservation tips for low-income homeowners.

Solar One’s Whole Buildings Green Education for Affordable Housing Communities

Presenter: Gary Smith, Solar One
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. ET

The goal of energy efficiency faces unique challenges and opportunities in affordable housing communities. In order to address energy efficiency issues unique to affordable housing, Solar One: New York City’s Green Energy and Education Center, has created a Whole Buildings Green Education for Affordable Housing Communities education and training program. The Whole Buildings program works with an entire building community to save energy and promote sustainable living. Solar One works with building operators, residents, and owners to identify measures to improve building performance, answer technical questions about building efficiency, reduce heating and electrical costs, and address common energy efficiency and sustainability measures. Whole Buildings fosters environmental literacy by reviewing relevant local laws, efficiency incentives, and the science behind building efficiency. This webinar will address the importance of, and Solar One’s experience with, delivering sustainability programming to staff, managers, and residents of affordable housing buildings in New York City. Gary Smith, Solar One’s Tenant Education Program Coordinator, will provide tips and focus on case studies, showing ways to engage the entire building community to cooperate toward the goal of energy efficiency.

Communications Lifeline: Universal, Affordable
Phone Service for Low-Income Households

Presenter: Olivia Wein, National Consumer Law Center
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
1:30pm-2:30pm ET

Having phone service is essential for many aspects of modern life – from being able to call 911, to being reachable for additional work shifts, to staying connected to family and the larger community. The federal Lifeline program provides discounted phone service for eligible low-income households. There are a range of Lifeline phone service providers and products -- from wireline to wireless, and from the "free" prepaid wireless cell phones to the more traditional discounted basic phone service with a monthly bill. Lifeline has undergone dramatic changes in the past few years. How consumers enroll and stay on the program has changed with the new program rules. There are also policy debates going on right now that will shape the evolution of Lifeline in national efforts to close the broadband divide. Olivia Wein of the National Consumer Law Center will provide an update on these changes and the implications and outcomes for low-income customers.

The Foreclosure Crisis and the National Mortgage Settlement:
Impacts on New York State

Presenter: Dina Levy, New York State Office of the Attorney General
Tuesday, Wednesday, July 16, 2014
1:30pm-2:30pm ET

The New York Attorney General (NY AG) has been a leader in holding banks accountable for their role in the national foreclosure crisis. Beginning with the National Mortgage Settlement, an historic Agreement between the federal government and 49 States in 2012, the NY AG’s leadership in this area has brought substantial relief to struggling New Yorkers trying to recover from the housing and economic crises. Settlements have included direct relief to homeowners in the form of mortgage modifications in addition to cash settlements to states, which the NY AG has used to launch a series of programs which address the foreclosure crisis in a comprehensive way. Settlements have also included a series of mandates aimed at reforming the way banks treat customers who are seeking mortgage modification assistance. The NY AG has played a leadership role in holding banks accountable in terms of implementing those reforms. Dina Levy of the New York State Office of the Attorney General will cover each of these topics, including a discussion about how the foreclosure crisis is currently playing out in New York State and where the NY AG will direct his focus in the coming months.

Energy information engagement among the poor in North Carolina

Presenter: Dr. Brian Southwell, RTI International and Duke University
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
1:30pm-2:30pm ET

Social scientists are beginning to understand a number of ways in which low-income populations face resource challenges that affect not just their material standing but also the ways they engage information. Those challenges, in turn, also constrain the success of programs charged with helping low-income consumers conserve energy through changes in home maintenance and household energy behavior. Southwell and colleagues at RTI International and Duke University have explored both the national relationship between socioeconomic status, energy knowledge, and energy behavior in the U.S. as well as local patterns among Durham, N.C., residents. After first briefly reviewing national survey results, Southwell will outline pilot results from a small set of in-depth interviews with applicants to the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program in Durham County. Working with a North Carolina non-profit called Clean Energy Durham, Southwell’s team recently sat down with Durham residents to inquire about their information needs, preferences, and tendencies. The interviews explored the time-orientation of residents, e.g., tendency toward immediate goals versus long-term goals, perceived social network norms regarding community energy education, and a variety of other factors that pose both opportunities and challenges for future energy education outreach efforts. Southwell will discuss the on-going research effort and explore possibilities for collaboration in this arena.

Reducing Energy Costs in Rental Housing

Presenter: Michael Carliner, Research Fellow, Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
1:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m. ET

Michael Carliner, research fellow at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, will present on the recent research brief, “Reducing Energy Costs in Rental Housing: The Need and the Potential.” This research brief describes the direct and indirect energy cost burdens that renters face and the disproportionate share of both total housing outlays and household income that lower-income tenants pay for energy. The analysis also looks at differences in energy costs and use between renters and homeowners living in various types of housing, as well as geographic variations in energy costs. The paper then examines the “split-incentive” problem in the landlord-tenant relationship and outlines strategies to overcome this barrier to efficiency and affordability. The report can be obtained online at

How New York’s Public Assistance Mortgages
Undermine Homeownership and Financial Stability

Presenter: Susan Antos, Senior Staff Attorney, Empire Justice Center

Thursday, February 27, 2014
1:30pm-2:30pm ET

Representatives from the Empire Justice Center will present on their recent report, “Don’t Lien on Me: How New York’s Public Assistance Mortgages Undermine Homeownership and Financial Stability.” The report provides a comprehensive analysis of New York’s use of Social Services Law §106, which allows Social Services Districts to recover public assistance paid to individuals who own their own homes, by taking a mortgage against the recipient’s property. The report also chronicles the legal background of the practice, the interplay between this policy and the push for foreclosure prevention, the need for detailed recordkeeping, and makes recommendations to ensure that debt is recovered against these mortgages only in the appropriate situations and for the correct amount. The report includes an advocates’ toolkit to help in providing assistance to individuals who have a welfare lien. The report is available online at

The Social Enterprise Movement

Bruce Newman, Social Enterprise Alliance - Long Island Chapter
Ken Cerini, Social Enterprise Alliance - Long Island Chapter

Tuesday, January 21, 2014
10:30 am-11:30 am ET

Representatives from the Social Enterprise Alliance-Long Island Chapter presented information about the Social Enterprise movement and how it is changing both the not-for-profit and for-profit landscape. Growing in popularity across the U.S., social entrepreneurism is a hybrid economic model that unites for-profit and nonprofit organizations to create mutual self-sustaining value and measurable social impact. Using for-profit business methods and the power of the nonprofit mission, Social Enterprises seek to be financially self-sufficient with little or no dependency on donations and/or government funding. Numerous examples exist of organizations that practice social entrepreneurism to pursue their social mission. This webinar showcased some of these examples and set the stage for other organizations to explore the potential for adding social entrepreneurship to their operations.

NYSERDA's Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program

Presenter: Laura Geel, Residential Energy Services, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
1:30 pm-2:30 pm ET

NYSERDA's Assisted Home Performance with ENERGY STAR program offers incentives and low interest financing to help make energy efficiency improvements affordable for income-eligible New York State homeowners. This webinar will bring participants up to date with the Assisted Home Performance program, including how the program works, eligibility requirements, and the application process.

Climate Change and Older Americans

Presenter: Dr. Janet Gamble, Global Change Research Program, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Older adults make up 13 percent of the U.S. population, but are projected to account for 20 percent by 2040. Coinciding with this demographic shift, the rate of climate change is accelerating, bringing rising temperatures; increased risk of floods, droughts, and wildfires; stronger tropical storms and hurricanes; rising sea levels; and other climate-related hazards. Older Americans are expected to be located in places that may be relatively more affected by climate change, including coastal zones and large metropolitan areas. This presentation reviews the research on climate change and older Americans, summarizing key findings related to demographics; climate stressors relevant to older adults; factors contributing to exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity; and adaptation strategies.

HEAP Updates for the 2013-201 Heating Season

Presenter: Andrew Bryk, Center for Employment and Economic Supports, NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance
Thursday, October 24, 2013
1:30pm-2:30pm ET
The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is a federally funded program that issues heating benefits to supplement a household’s annual energy cost. The program also offers an emergency benefit for households in a heat or heat‐related emergency. This webinar provides updates on HEAP for 2013-2014 heating season.

For further information about the NYS Home Energy Assistance Program, consult the NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance HEAP webpages at

Passive House Design in Affordable Housing

Presenter: Gerald Abt , Energy Efficiency Engineer, Association for Energy Affordability
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
10:30am-11:30am ET
Passive house designs have the potential for reducing energy consumption in homes by up to 85 percent. Recently, the Association for Energy Affordability (AEA) began offering courses designed to teach experienced contractors the principles, methods, and materials used to construct buildings that meet the exacting building performance criteria of Germany's Passivhaus Institut. This webinar presentation provides an overview of passive building techniques and discusses considerations for incorporating passive house into affordable new construction, weatherization, and low-income energy efficiency projects.

Home Energy Insecurity (HEI): Measurement and Consequences

Presenter: Dr. John Cook, Senior Research Scientist and Principal Investigator, Children’s HealthWatch, Boston Medical Center

Wednesday, August 21, 2013  

10:30 am - 11:30 am ET

This presentation by Dr. John Cook of Children’s HealthWatch discusses household energy insecurity (HEI) in terms of how it is measured and in terms of its consequences for children and families, and our future prosperity. The presentation communicates a straightforward, understandable way of quantifying HEI. Research evidence that indicates the impacts of HEI on child and family health are summarized, and health impacts of HEI are discussed in the context of what is needed to insure a prosperous future for us all.


LIFE March Webinar - 2013 Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

Presenter: Maryann Tucker, Director of Outreach and Constituent Services, NYS Department of Taxation and Finance

Thursday, March 7, 2013 
1:30am-2:30pm EST

This presentation provides some insight into the behind the scenes returns processing of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). New York's EITC, one of the most generous in the nation, is an economic boost to more than 1.6 million working New Yorkers each year. Of the $940 million paid out annually, 96 percent goes to working families with children. Through partnerships with advocacy groups and the Internal Revenue Service, the Taxation and Finance Department strives to ensure that all eligible taxpayers receive the tax credits they deserve. At the same time, New York State has a fiscal responsibility to ensure that refunds are not issued to those that are not entitled or to those that are filing fraudulent returns. This presentation will discuss:

  • Statistics on New York State’s EITC
  • New York State’s nationally recognized audit selection system
  • The scope of EITC fraud related issues and the rise in tax return-related identity theft
  • How advocacy groups have helped to reshape our thinking and tax return review procedures

View the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) webinar.


LIFE February Webinar - LIHEAP Action Day

Presenter - Kathy Walgren, 
Interim Executive Director, National Fuel Funds Network

Thursday February 21, 2013  
10:30 - 11:30 EST

LIHEAP Action Day is an event dedicated to preserving funding for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, a vital safety net program for low-income energy customers.  Sponsored by the National Fuel Funds Network, LIHEAP Action Day brings together low-income energy advocates from a broad range of organizations and communities for a day of grassroots lobbying  and education.   LIHEAP Action Day events occur in Washington, DC where more than 100 briefings are held with federal legislators and at other press events and briefings in communities across America.  

LIFE’s LIHEAP Action Day Webinar will explore ways that low-income energy advocates can support and participate in Action Day in Washington as well as in their own communities. These are challenging times for energy assistance with funding cuts to LIHEAP a reality this year as the need for assistance grows.

View the LIHEAP Action Day Webinar


U.S. Department of Treasury’s Go Direct Campaign

Presenter: Lindsay Cole, Go Direct Campaign Representative

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 
10:30am-11:30pm EST

Everyone who receives federal benefit payments by paper check is required by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to switch to an electronic payment option by March 1, 2013. The Treasury Department reports that New York seniors and other federal benefit recipients are still receiving nearly 343,000 paper checks each month and have yet to switch to electronic payments. Help senior citizens, veterans, people with disabilities and others switch to direct deposit or the Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card before the official deadline. This webinar will outline the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve Banks public education campaign called Go Direct and the two Treasury-recommended options for getting electronic payments. Additionally, as trusted resources in the New York community, this webinar will highlight ways for you to educate and communicate this information to the people you serve.

View the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Go Direct Campaign.


Helping Communities Survive and Recover from Natural Disaster

Presenters: Sue Montgomery Corey, Community Power Network and Supervisor of the town of Minerva; Bill Ferebee, Supervisor of the Town of Keene; Randy Douglas, Supervisor of the Town of Jany and the Chair of the Essex County Board of Supervisors; and Don Jaquish, Emergency Services Director for Essex County 

Tuesday, December 22
10:00am-11:00pm EST

The webinar will feature three key leaders of the Hurricane Irene recovery efforts who will share their experiences of the similarities between the current recovery and rebuilding efforts resulting from Hurricane Sandy on Long Island and in New York City and last year's upstate floods following Hurricane Irene. Information provided will be relevant to all those presently affected by recovery challenges downstate in addition to those who are concerned with preventative measures or recovery strategies for future disasters.

View the Helping Communities Survive and Recover from Natural Disaster webinar.


2012-2013 HEAP Updates

Presenters: Heidi Torraco, Center for Employment and Economic Supports 

Thursday, October 25
10:30am-11:30pm EST

The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is a federally funded program that issues heating benefits to supplement a household’s annual energy cost. The program also offers an emergency benefit for households in a heat or heat‐related emergency. Additionally, HEAP offers a heating equipment repair and/or replacement benefit for households with inoperable heating equipment. The heating season is scheduled to begin in November, so the 2012-2013 heating season is right around the corner. The LIFE program invites you to join this webinar to find out more about HEAP updates for the upcoming heating season and become part of the low-income energy dialogue.

View the 2012-2013 HEAP Updates webinar.




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