The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program, or LIHWAP, helps low income households with water and wastewater bills. This is a temporary emergency program that is very similar to the LIHEAP program that assists with heating and cooling bills.
Please note that LIHWAP is still a relatively new program and this post will be updated as more information becomes available.
What is the LIHWAP program?
Like the LIHEAP program, the LIHWAP program is a federal assistance program that helps low income households. This program specifically helps with water and wastewater bills. It does not help with any other bills or expenses.
This program was authorized under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and is intended to be temporary during the Coronavirus pandemic. The program has a total of $1.14 billion to assist low income residents who need help with their water bills because they are at risk of shut-off. It also helps people reconnect utilities that have already been shut off due to non-payment.
How does LIHWAP help?
LIHWAP helps by providing a one-time benefit to eligible low income households who are past-due, have a disconnection notice or have been disconnected from a water/wastewater service or utility. The payments are made directly to the utility company.
The one-time payments will be available until September 2023 or until the funds run out. It is expected that funds will run out before the deadline.
Where is the LIHWAP program available?
The LIHWAP program is a federal program. This means that LIHWAP grants are available in all US states and many other US areas, including:
- All US States
- The District of Columbia
- The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
- US Territories
- Federally and State-Recognized Indian Tribes and Tribal Organizations
Basically, it is available anywhere that the LIHEAP program is available. Many areas have combined their applications for LIHEAP and LIHWAP so that it is easier for people to use. However, the program is still very new and therefore some areas have not yet released their requirements or application process.
Who is eligible for LIHWAP?
In order to be eligible for LIHWAP, you must meet income requirements. These requirements may vary by state so you will need to check with your local agency. For example, the income requirements in Indiana and Washington are very different. You will want to contact your state agency in charge of this program to verify the eligibility requirements.
In addition to income requirements, you must also meet one of the three following criteria:
- You must owe a past-due balance to a water/wastewater service provider OR
- You must be at risk of disconnection with a water/wastewater service provider due to non-payment OR
- You must have already had your water/wastewater services disconnected due to non-payment
Other requirements may vary by state as well.
How can I apply for the LIHWAP program?
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is the federal government agency in charge of this program. They have directed states to model LIHWAP after the pre-existing LIHEAP program, so the application process should be very similar.
You should be able to contact your local county government or Community Action Council to apply for this program. In many cases, your utility provider may also have the contact information for the agency in charge. You may also call 211, as they will likely have this information as well.
Need more help?
If you need help with more than just your water/wastewater utilities, then you’re in the right place! Low Income Relief helps millions of people save money and get free stuff every year. Browse our website or chat with Lira to see how we can help you.