Water is a basic necessity that should be available to all families living around the globe. And with the Covid-19 pandemic all over the world in the last two years, it has been a hard time for poor families to access clean water and pay for it.
Regarding this, the Government of California has introduced a Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) for families who are unable to pay their water utility costs. This Program has been mainly introduced to help families who have been paying a significant amount of their earnings in paying the water bills.
Low Income Household Water Assistance Program: What Is LIHWAP?
Low income households have faced many problems that often have led to a direct result of losing their home. Over time, this has been an issue throughout the United States where low-income families face an increased rate of bills because they are unable to afford it.
- However, At the same time, water utility companies try to assist them by helping them maintain service by giving credit allowances, account payment plans, or partial payments. And thus, LIHWAP is the newest entrant into California’s array of water assistance programs.
- The LIHWAP program, designed by the Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) is open to California residents whose income falls below the federal national poverty levels. The participating household must have an outstanding water or wastewater bill, and meet all LIHWAP income eligibility requirements.
Overall, it is a significant program that can help low-income households with their water and wastewater service fees. The program will also assist residents who are not eligible to receive crisis assistance if their services have been disconnected or are in danger of disconnection.
Low Income Household Water Assistance Program: Who Is Eligible For LIHWAP?
California’s low-income households face a range of hardships, yet for many, it is a struggle just to meet their monthly utility bills. California’s Low Income Household Water Assistance Program, commonly referred to as LIHWAP, provides financial assistance to residents in low-income households. However, to secure all the benefits of LIHWAP, there is a certain eligibility criterion that one needs to fulfill.
- The first requirement is that a family looking to seek help from the LIHWAP must have an individual who is a U.S. citizen.
- The second requirement is that the family should lie at the federal poverty level where their income must be less than or equal to 150% of the poverty level. Furthermore, it should also be under 60% of the State Median Income.
- The help will be available to only those families who are having high bills to pay or aren’t connected to any water-supplying services in that area.
- Apart from it, the family will be eligible for the program only if they are getting the benefits of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Code A Supplemental Security Income, Home Energy Assistance Program, and Temporary Assistance.
The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program is led by Congress and administered by state utility regulators in partnership with local water providers which is a one-time program that will provide financial assistance to eligible households in California.
Relevant Dates for Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)
The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) was introduced on 1st December 2021 when the State of North Carolina started accepting applications from families to reap the benefits of the program. However, on 3rd January 2022, the Department of Community Services and Development (CSD) made the program available to all families who are meeting the eligibility requirements of program.
Furthermore, now the families who are looking to apply for the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program can do it by 30th September 2023. This will help them achieve some financial help regarding the water bills.
How To Apply For Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)
Since the funding will continue until all of the funds are used up, it is expected that by September 30, 2023, there will not be any emergency assistance through the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP). However, families who are looking to apply for the program can follow the steps given below to understand the process.
For families who are looking to apply for Low Income Household Water Assistance Program through online mode, they have to visit the epass.nc.gov website for the application. However, for this, the applicant needs to have an NY.Gov ID which will make it easier for them to apply. The online Portal is available for 24 hours and the applicants can submit their applications according to their preferences.
For the families who are looking to submit their application in the offline mode, they have to fill in the relevant details and have to give it to the local county Department of Social Services by dropping it there. However, before submitting the application, certain documents have to be listed with it. These documents are as follows:
- Identity Proof
- Income Certificate
- Residence Proof
- Social Security Number which is valid and secure
- Water Bills combined with the Permanent Residence Proof
LIHWAP is intended to meet the unmet needs of households that have applied for assistance from their states and counties in meeting their basic water needs.
It is a program that provides timely assistance to households when they are unable to meet their regular expenses or financial obligations in connection with water and/or sewer services or purchases as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funds may be used to pay for water and wastewater services on a one-time basis or a household may choose to put some or all the funds away in reserve for use at a later time. Community water utilities will have a role in helping households develop plans for using their allocations.
Currently, the program has helped more than 150,000 households and apart from it, almost 91,000 households have got their water supply connections back which will help them to have access to clean water in the future.