LIHWAP: A Primer for the Community Action Network

LIHWAP does not limit the benefit amounts that a client may receive, but Recipients (or Subrecipients, in the absence of Recipient guidance) must establish their own written policies and procedures for intake workers to follow, which could set a maximum benefit amount. OCS encourages Recipients to adopt policies that allow for review of costs that exceed the maximum benefit amount when a partial payment will not result in restoring or maintaining water services.

In States without a maximum benefit amount, a CAA should pay the full amount that is required to ensure a client’s water connection is restored or maintained. In many cases, this may mean paying the full amount of the past due bill, including reconnection feeds and late fees. CAAs should prioritize serving households with disconnected water services or pending disconnections before those seeking to reduce water bills that are not yet past due. For households that are current with their bills, Recipients (or Subrecipients as directed by Recipients) should prioritize households that have the highest water costs or needs in relation to income. They should establish and apply a benefit matrix or calculation to decide the amount of assistance to provide each household. Such matrices are not required to apply a prescribed methodology, but they must use a clear and equitable rationale for distributing benefits. Recipients (or Subrecipients) should consider adapting benefit matrices and policies used by the LIHEAP program for use by LIHWAP. For more information and examples, see LIHWAP IM-2021-01.

This resource is part of the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Legal Training and Technical Assistance Center. It was created by CAPLAW in the performance of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Community Services, Cooperative Agreement Award Number 90ET0482-02. Any opinion, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.