Low income SLC residents can apply for federal aid to pay for overdue water bills
Low income residents in St. Lawrence County will be able to apply for federal aid help pay for up to $2,500 in past-due bills for drinking water and wastewater.
According to an announcement from the governor’s office, $69.8 million in federal funding will be available beginning December 1 to help low-income New Yorkers pay past-due bills.Administered by the state Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program provides eligible individuals and families with up $2,500 for drinking water arrears and $2,500 for wastewater arrears. The assistance will help New Yorkers avoid service interruptions when the moratorium on shutoffs expires next month.
The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program is targeted at low-income households - particularly those paying a high proportion of their income for drinking water and wastewater services.
The program is expected to serve roughly 105,000 households statewide, including some in St. Lawrence County.
Funding is being targeted at those households with service bills that are at least 20 days past-due and will be paid directly to the utility.
Like the Home Energy Assistance Program, eligibility is based on income, household size, and the past-due amount that is owed.
A household of four would need to have a gross monthly income of $5,249 or less to qualify.
Applications will be accepted online and by mail starting Dec. 1.
For more information, including on how to apply, visit otda.ny.gov/lihwap.
Those enrolled in the Home Energy Assistance Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, in receipt of Temporary Assistance or living alone and receiving Supplemental Security Income are categorically eligible, but still need to apply for assistance.
Surveys conducted by OTDA indicate that the number of households with past-due water bills can range up to 15 percent in some regions of the state, with average arrears of about $250.
Nationally, the average combined drinking water and sewer bill is $1,200 per year, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics.
Drinking water and wastewater are utility connections that are protected under the utility shutoff moratorium, which extends through late December.
Regulated utilities also agreed to hold off on any pending service disconnections through the New Year holiday.