Utility Bill Assistance

The Energy Assistance Program (EAP) helps pay customers’ heating and electric bills. It is an Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority (IHCDA) program that is federally funded through the Department of Health and Human Services. It is a one-time annual benefit. It does not cover all of the annual heating and electric costs. Eligibility for the program is based on household size and income. The Local Service Provider for Kosciusko County is: REAL SERVICES, INC., 1151 S Michigan St, PO Box 1835 South Bend, IN 46634, Phone: (574) 284-7101. When applying for EAP, customers can also check a box that wish to receive water assistance as well.

The Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) is a temporary emergency water/wastewater program helping low-income families during the COVID-19 pandemic. LIHWAP is federally-funded through the 2021 Appropriations Bill and the American Rescue Plan Act. Eligible households may receive a one-time benefit to be used through September 2023. Funds are limited and the program ends whenever the funds run out. In addition, the requirement of being eligible under the EAP, eligible households for LIHWAP are those who have been disconnected or are on disconnect notice from water/wastewater services or arrearages for water/wastewater services.

Eligibility for EAP (and thus the LIHWAP) is based on household size and income:

Household Size 1 month 3 months 12 months
1 $2,251 $6,753 $27,012
2 $2,944 $8,831 $35,324
3 $3,636 $10,909 $43,635
4 $4,329 $12,987 $51,947
5 $5,022 $15,065 $60,259
6 $5,714 $17,143 $68,570
7 $5,844 $17,532 $70,128
8 $5,974 $17,922 $71,686
9 $6,104 $18,311 $73,245

The Application timeline is as follows:

October 1, 2021 Applications begin to be accepted by Real Services, Inc.
November 1, 2021 Benefit notifications to applicants and vendors begin.
May 16, 2022 Last day to apply for EAP and water assistance for this funding cycle.

Grantees of the federal funds have discretion to set up a policy, based on community needs, to determine whether the best use of LIHWAP funds are used to pay for past-due balances to restore water services or used to pay currently due bills. The IHCDA has not made its policy known.

Reasoning for the Program

For many low-income households across America, water affordability needs have been significantly exacerbated by the COVID-19 public health crisis, and while water is required to follow the federal guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advising washing hands frequently in order to reduce the transmission of Covid-19, the pandemic has made it significantly more difficult for individuals and families to pay their home drinking water and wastewater bills.  LIHWAP provides critical nationwide emergency support on behalf of low-income households so that vulnerable low-income households are not forced to choose between paying for water services and other necessities like housing, food, and medicine. LIHWAP funds can be used for payment of standard reconnection fees, charges, and penalties.

To apply for the (EAP and) LIHWAP, visit https://ihcda.rhsconnect.com/portal/.