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New Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)

Written by Legal Aid WV

10/06/2022

This information is shared from WV DHHR’s website and resources.

The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) has a new program this year called the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP). This federally funded program assists eligible state residents in paying water or wastewater bills.

Eligibility for LIHWAP benefits is based on income, household size and whether the household is responsible for paying water or wastewater bills. To qualify, the household must meet all program guidelines, which includes an applicant’s annual income being at or below 60 percent of the State Median Income. Face-to-face interviews in a local DHHR office are also required.

If a utility vendor provides multiple services, an itemized bill will be required. LIHWAP can only be used for water and sewer payments.

The maximum allowable gross income levels for LIHWAP Fiscal Year 2022 are listed in the chart below.

           Household Size                        Gross Monthly Income Limit

                     1                                                     $2,005

                     2                                                     $2,621

                     3                                                     $3,238

                     4                                                     $3,855

                     5                                                     $4,472

                     6                                                     $5,088

                     7                                                     $5,204

                     8                                                     $5,583

                     9                                                     $6,150

                    10                                                    $6,718

                    11                                                    $7,285

                    12                                                    $7,853

                     For each additional person, add $567.

 *Social Security and Veterans income will be excluded for the current LIHWAP application period. 

Households whose income exceeds the maximum amount are not eligible; however, some types of income may be excluded for LIHWAP.  The program is limited to the amount of federal funding allocated to West Virginia under the LIHWAP Block Grant.

Those interested in applying for LIHWAP  may contact their local DHHR office with questions or to request an interview to determine eligibility. A list of local offices may be found at http://www.dhhr.wv.gov/bcf/Documents/DHHR.BCF.LocalOffices.pdf or by calling 304-352-4431.

This is a new program similar to the LIEAP assistance program that assists with heating costs, but this is to assist specifically with water bills.

The LIHWAP program is divided into three priorities: 

Disconnected Service (Priority Group 1) 

Households with service that has been disconnected. The outcome is to restore service through paying the past-due bill amount and all required fees through a LIHWAP payment and collaboration with other resources if necessary. The LIHWAP payment cannot create a credit balance on the account.  

Pending Disconnection (Priority Group 2) 

Households that have not yet been disconnected however have a past due bill or disconnect notice. The goal of the LIHWAP Program is to avoid disconnection. The LIHWAP payment cannot create a credit balance on the account. 

Current Bill Assistance (Priority Group 3) 

Households seeking assistance that have current bills with no past due balance. The goal of this payment is to help families that are trying to keep their bill current and need some help. The LIHWAP payment cannot create a credit balance on the account.  

In-depth information on the program can be found in the BFA Income Maintenance Manual section 21.8 starting on page 1716.

https://dhhr.wv.gov/bcf/Services/familyassistance/IMMDocuments/Binder4.pdf

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