Frequently asked questions

  • The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is a temporary federally funded program created to assist low-income households with water and wastewater bills. LIHWAP relief will be available to eligible Virginia residents from October 2022 until funds are depleted.

  • The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is administered by Promise Network on the behalf of the Virginia Department of Social Services.

    Promise is a modern technology solutions company that works with utilities and government agencies around the country to provide payment flexibility for households who are unable to pay their bills and streamlined relief distribution to those in need.

  • Households eligible for LIHWAP assistance must:

    • Have a gross household income below 150% of the federal poverty level based on household size. See income limits in "What are the maximum income limits to be eligible for aid?"
    • Live in Virginia
    • Be a U.S. citizen or qualified alien
    • Have service disconnected or at risk of disconnection within the next 30 days
  • Please fill out the application online on virginialihwap.com by selecting your utility and entering your account number and billing zip code. If you cannot find your utility in the dropdown selection, you can select "My utility is not listed here" in the dropdown and start an application.

    Alternatively, you can apply on paper by filling out this form and sending it to the following:

    PO Box 2218
    Richmond, VA
    23218

    You can also call 1-888-373-9908 to sign up.

    Applicants not already enrolled in an income based program (LIHEAP, SNAP, TANF, SSI and Veterans Benefits) will be required to provide evidence of household income. See "What documents are required for the application?"

    Application assistance is available by contacting Promise directly between the hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET Monday through Saturday. Please do not contact your local department of social services, as they will not be able to provide support regarding the application process.

    • You will need your account number with your water or wastewater utility and information about all members of your household and their benefits. You may be required to provide documentation of all income earned in the last month
    • Provide information so Promise Network can determine if you are eligible for assistance
    • Provide Social Security numbers for all household members if applicable
    • Provide proof of income for all current household members for the month prior to application
  • If any of your household members is not a recipient of SNAP, LIHEAP, TANF, SSI, or veteran programs, you will need to provide documents that show the income earned by all household members (except minors) for the last calendar month:

    • Paystubs from employer
    • Written statement from employer
    • Documentation, such as an award letter, from the Social Security Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Labor, Public Housing Authority, or other governmental agency.
    • For child support, documentation from the Virginia Division of Child Support Enforcement or bank statements to verify child support received
    • For self-employment, last year’s tax return or 3 months of profit/loss statements
    • If you do not have any income in the last month, you will need to provide a signed attestation that you did not receive any income. See example under "What if I did not earn any income last month?"  

    If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI):

    • Award letter
    • Bank or other financial statements

    If any of your household members is a qualified alien:

    • Permanent Resident Card (I-551), also known as a “Green Card”
    • Unexpired foreign passport stamped by the U.S. Government indicating that the holder has been "Processed for I-551"
    • Permanent Resident Re-entry Permit (I-327)
    • Arrival Departure Form I-94 with “Temporary I-551” stamp and photo
    • Travel Document issued to Permanent Residents (I-327)
    • Travel document issued to Refugees (I-571)
    • Form I-94 stamped with one of the following statuses: Asylee, Parolee or Parole,
    • Refugee, Asylum, HP-humanitarian parolee, PIP-public interest parolee, or Cuban/Haitian Entrant

    If you are a renter and the utility bill is not in a member of your household’s name:

    If another person is filling out the application on your behalf:

  • Please reference the list of countable income under the question "What qualifies as income?" to ensure you did not earn anything last month.

    If you did not earn any income last month, when prompted to upload income documentation, upload a signed attestation:

    "I attest that my household did not receive any income in [last month - ex. January 2023].

    [Signature],
    Your Name"

  • As part of the application, you will be asked for your income sources and the amount of income you received in the last calendar month. Please refer to the list below to calculate your income.

    Provide your gross income (income before taxes, deductions, and garnishments).

    Countable Income (Include these in your income calculations)

    • Money wages and salaries before any deductions, including tips and gratuities
    • Self-employment income
    • Contract income
    • Regular payments from the Social Security Administration (Retirement, Survivors’ benefits, Supplemental Security Income, Disability benefits)
    • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
    • Workers’ compensation insurance
    • Railroad retirement
    • Child support/Alimony
    • Unemployment compensation
    • Strike benefits from union funds
    • Veterans Administration (VA) payments
    • Training stipends
    • Military family allotments or other regular support from an absent family member
    • Private pensions
    • Government employee pensions (including military retirement pay)
    • Regular insurance or annuity payments
    • Interest, dividends, or royalties
    • Net rental income
    • Net royalties
    • Periodic receipts from estates or trusts
    • Net gambling or lottery winnings
    • Financial support from family or friends
    • Severance pay

    Excluded Income (Please DO NOT include these in your income calculations)

    • Federal non-cash benefit programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), school lunches, or housing assistance
    • Stipends from senior aide programs
    • Earned income of a child under the age of 18
    • College scholarships, loans, or grants
    • Foster care benefits and adoption stipends
    • One-time payments from a welfare agency, church, or social organization
    • Income tax refunds
    • Utility allowances or reimbursements
    • Lump-sum inheritances
    • Capital gains
    • Any assets drawn down as withdrawals from a bank
    • The sale of property, a house, or a car
    • Loans
    • One-time insurance payments
    • Employer-paid or union-paid portion of health insurance or other employee fringe benefits
    • Food or housing received in lieu of wages
    • The value of food and fuel produced and consumed on farms
    • The value of rent from owner-occupied non-farm or farm housing
    • Travel reimbursements for mileage, gas, lodging, meals
    • Jury Duty compensation
    • Work study programs (AmeriCorps, etc.)
  • Your household is eligible for aid if your gross total income last calendar month is equal or below the maximum monthly income outlined below.

    Household Size              Maximum Monthly Income
    1$1,699
    2$2,289
    3$2,879
    4$3,469
    5$4,059
    6$4,649
    7$5,239
    8$5,829
    9$6,419
    10$7,009
    11$7,599
    12$8,189
    13$8,779
    14$9,369
    15$9,959
    16$10,549
    17$11,139
    18$11,729
    19$12,319
    20$12,909
  • If the water account is in your name, you can apply with no additional requirements.

    If the water account is in your landlord’s name, you will need the landlord verification form

  • Households are eligible to receive funds equal to the amount of their past due water/wastewater debt, up to a maximum allowable amount of $2,500.00. Please note, this is a one-time payment. If the bill amount is less than the maximum allowable payment amount, additional payments will not be made. Households are responsible for any remaining balance after the LIHWAP payment is made.

    METHOD OF PAYMENT: All payments will be made directly to participating vendors typically within ten (10) business days of application approval. Eligible households will be notified when a payment is made on their behalf.

  • If you are not satisfied with the decision about your application, you can request a conference and/or a formal hearing. To request a conference, please call the LIHWAP Team at 1-888-373-9908. If you are not satisfied with the results of the conference, you may request a formal hearing; you must submit a written request to us within 30 days from the conference. The Virginia Department of Social Services will make the final decision on all hearings. You may be entitled to free legal services concerning your dissatisfaction about your case.

    If you have questions, please contact Promise Network at 1-888-373-9908.

  • Water and Wastewater Utilities must enroll with Promise in order for their clients to participate in LIHWAP. Utilities interested in enrolling or with questions about LIHWAP should contact Promise at support@virginialihwap.com

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