Help for water bills

Published 12:57 pm Wednesday, December 1, 2021

North Carolina receives federal funding for assistance program 

POLK COUNTY—Anyone in North Carolina having trouble paying their water bill can get assistance. 

Federal funding of $38 million was recently issued to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services for a water assistance program for people affected by the pandemic. 

The program is called the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program and is for eligible households who have had their water service disconnected or received notice that their service will be disconnected. 

The LIHWAP is a temporary emergency program that will help eligible households afford water and wastewater services. Households who qualify can receive a one-time payment to the utility company. The program will last until September 2023 or until the funds are out. 

NCDHHS Deputy Secretary for Employment, Inclusion and Economic Stability Tara Myers said that due to the pandemic and its impact on the economy, many households are struggling to maintain their water service. 

“The LIHWAP program will help families in North Carolina keep their water running, a basic human need that’s critical for good sanitation and better health,” Myers said. 

Eligibility includes households that receive Food and Nutrition Services, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Work First Services or low-income energy assistance program between Oct. 1, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2021. Those households will be automatically eligible if their water has been disconnected or they are in danger of the service being disconnected. 

The application process began Dec. 1 online at epass.nc.gov. A paper application is available at epass.nc.gov, which can be filled out and dropped off or faxed to the Polk County Department of Social Services. People can also call DSS and apply by phone. 

On Jan. 1, people not in danger of having their service disconnected will be able to apply as well if they meet the eligibility requirements.