RALEIGH, N.C. (WAVY) — North Carolina health officials have announced a new program to help residents pay for water bills.

On Tuesday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says that the state has been awarded more than $38 million in federal funding to help residents affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

Titled the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), the temporary program will help households and families afford water and wastewater services with a one-time payment for eligible low-income households directly to the utility company.

It will run through September 2023 or until the funds run out.

Beginning Wednesday through the new water assistance program, eligible households in North Carolina that have had their water services cut off or have received notice that their water services are in danger of being cut off can apply for assistance in paying their bill through a new federal program.

Households that currently receive Food and Nutrition Services (FNS), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Work First services, or those that received Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) services between Oct. 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2021, are automatically eligible to receive this benefit if their water services have been cut off or are in danger of being cut off.

All other households that have had their water services or are in danger of losing it can apply starting Dec. 1, 2021, online HERE.

Individuals can also apply by printing a paper application from HERE and dropping it off at or faxing it to their local county Department of Social Services or by calling their local county Department of Social Services to apply by phone.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, all households that are not in danger of having their water service cut off can apply for the program if they meet the eligibility requirements.

To be eligible for the LIHWAP program, a household must have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen and:

  • Have income equal to or less than 150% of the federal poverty level,
  • Have household services that are disconnected, in jeopardy of disconnection or have a current outstanding bill, and
  • Be responsible for the water bill

Households can apply starting Wednesday through Sept. 30, 2023, or until funds are exhausted.

For more information on this program, CLICK HERE.