The Vermont Department for Children and Families (DCF) launched the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) to help eligible households pay their water and wastewater bills. The program runs from November 2021 through September 2023, with the potential to be extended.
LIHWAP is a national program established by Congress under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 to help families experiencing financial hardship. Vermont has been allocated almost $2.1 million in one-time funding to provide assistance through LIHWAP.
Eligible households are those with gross household income below 60% of the state median income based on household size (see the Income Guidelines Table). Priority will be given to households whose water/wastewater has been disconnected or is at risk of being disconnected. Any overdue bill is eligible, regardless of date. In certain circumstances, customers can also apply for a one-time future payment. Note that even though the program runs for 2 years, a customer can only receive payment once.
Payments will be made directly to water and wastewater utilities. If a customer from your utility applies for LIHWAP, you will be contacted by DCF to complete the Certification Agreement and sign the Terms and Conditions in order to receive payment.
Customers can download/print the application at https://dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/hwa
1. Customer mails this application and a current water/wastewater bill to:
Economic Services Division
Application & Document Processing Center
280 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671-1500
3. A Notice of Decision is mailed to the customer and emailed to the utility
4. The payment is made to the utility by ACH
5. DCF may contact the utility in the future for information related to federal reporting
Vermont Rural Water and DCF held an information session for utilities on February 23, 2022. You can watch the recording at the link below.
Access Passcode: ??eP8F$p
Utilities can email AHS.DCFESDLIHWAP@vermont.gov
Customers can call 1-800-339-6433
Other Assistance Programs
The Vermont COVID-19 Arrearage Assistance Program (VCAAP) has closed.
The Vermont Emergency Rental Assistance Program for Utility Services (VERAP-U) can provide water/sewer bill assistance to low-income residential renters. This program will reduce benefits beginning on October 1, 2022 and will end June 30, 2023. New applications will not be accepted after December 31, 2022. Find info at https://vtruralwater.org/verap/
The Vermont Homeowner Assistance Program (HAP) can provide water/sewer bill assistance to homeowners. Homeowners can apply at https://vermonthap.vhfa.org/ Utilities can find info and register at https://vermonthap.vhfa.org/serviceProviders
Note that a customer’s bill cannot receive payment from multiple programs. However, because each program has slightly different requirements and timeframes, it may be possible for a customer to receive payments for different bills from different programs.