New state program assists with payment of water bills

Published 8:01 am Wednesday, December 8, 2021

The State of North Carolina has been awarded more than $38 million in federal funding to establish a new water assistance program for households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligible households that have had water services cut off or have received notice that water services are in danger of being cut off can apply for assistance in paying their bill through a new federal program called the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program.

The assistance program is a temporary emergency program that will help eligible households and families afford water and wastewater services. The program provides a one-time payment for eligible low-income households directly to the utility company. The program runs through September 2023 or until the funds run out.

Households that currently receive Food and Nutrition Services, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or Work First services, or those that received Low-Income Energy Assistance Program services between Oct. 1, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2021, are automatically eligible to receive this benefit if their water services have been cut off or are in danger of being cut off.

All other households that have had their water services cut off or are in danger of losing it can apply online at epass.nc.gov. Individuals can also apply by printing a paper application from the same website and dropping it off at or faxing it to their local county Department of Social Services or by calling their local county Department of Social Services to apply by phone.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, all households that are not in danger of having their water service cut off can apply for assistance if they meet the eligibility requirements. To be eligible for the program, a household must have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen and:

  • Have income equal to or less than 150% of the federal poverty level,
  • Have household services that are disconnected, in jeopardy of disconnection or have a current outstanding bill, and
  • Be responsible for the water bill

Households can apply starting Wednesday through Sept. 30, 2023, or until funds are exhausted.

For more information on this program and eligibility, visit www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/social-services/energy-assistance/low-income-household-water-assistance-program-lihwap.

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