Friday January 07, 2022

As benefits change, households have other options for help

Cabarrus County’s Department of Human Services is currently taking applications for programs that provide financial support for energy and water bill payments.

The Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) and Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) are federally funded and open to all eligible residents. The one-time help provides payment directly to the utility provider.

Officials believe there is a greater need for these programs as families adjust to changes in the State of North Carolina’s Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) allotments. Beginning in February, FNS benefits will return to levels based on eligibility guidelines.

Low Income Energy Assistance Program

Households in Cabarrus County can apply for help covering the cost of heating their homes through March 31, 2022.

LIEAP provides eligible households with a one-time payment to their heating vendor to offset the high cost of heating during the winter months. Depending on the household’s primary heating source, the payment will be $300, $400 or $500.

To be eligible, a person must:

  • Have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen who meets eligibility criteria
  • Have annual income equal to or less than 130 percent of the federal poverty limit, such as:
    • For a household of one, an income of $16,740 or less
    • For a family of four, an income of $34,452 or less
  • Have resources, such as saving and checking accounts or cash on hand, at or below $2,250
  • Be responsible for their heating costs

For more information on the Low Income Energy Assistance program, go to https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/social-services/energy-assistance/low-income-energy-assistance-lieap.

Low Income Household Water Assistance Program

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.

Households with a current water/wastewater bill can apply for LIHWAP assistance if they meet the eligibility requirements whether or not their water service has been disconnected.

To be eligible, a person must:

  • Have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen who meets eligibility criteria
  • Have income equal to or less than 150 percent of the federal poverty limit, such as:
    • For a household of one, an income of $19,320 or less
    • For a family of four, an income of $39,756 or less
  • Have household services that are disconnected, in jeopardy of disconnection or have a current outstanding bill
  • Be responsible for the water bill

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.

How to apply

Individuals can apply for both programs:

  • Online at https://epass.nc.gov/
  • By printing a paper application from https://epass.nc.gov/ and dropping it off at the Cabarrus County Human Services Center (1303 S. Cannon Blvd, Kannapolis) or DHS satellite office at the Dream Center (280 Concord Parkway South, Suite 110, Concord), Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • By printing a paper application from https://epass.nc.gov/ and faxing it to 704-920-1401
  • By requesting a print copy from the Cabarrus County Human Services Center or Dream Center

For more information on this and other family, aging and transportation programs provided by Cabarrus County Human Services, call 704-920-1400.

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