Special to Iredell Free News
RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services announced Monday that the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program will expand to include all low-income households needing assistance in paying their water bill.
LIHWAP was created in December 2021 after the State of North Carolina was awarded more than $38 million in federal funds to establish a new water assistance program for households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beginning January 3, households with a current water/wastewater bill can begin applying for LIHWAP assistance if they meet the eligibility requirements, whether or not their water service has been disconnected. Households that have had their services disconnected or are in jeopardy of having their services disconnected can continue to apply.
“Due to the pandemic and its impact on our economy, many households are struggling to maintain their water service,” said Tara Myers, NCDHHS deputy secretary for Employment, Inclusion and Economic Stability. “LIHWAP will continue to help families in North Carolina keep their water running, a basic human need that’s critical for good sanitation and better health.”
LIHWAP is a temporary emergency program that helps 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. LIHWAP runs through September 2023 or until the funds run out.
Individuals can apply online at epass.nc.gov. Individuals can also apply by printing a paper application from epass.nc.gov 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.
To be eligible for LIHWAP, a household must have at least one U.S. citizen or eligible 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 through September 30, 2023, or until funds are exhausted.
For more information on this program and eligibility, visit the LIHWAP website at www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/social-services/energy-assistance/low-income-household-water-assistance-program-lihwap.