12/1/21 – Low Income Household Water Assistance Program
LIHWAP is a temporary emergency program that will help eligible households and families afford water and wastewater services, providing a one-time payment for eligible low-income households paid directly to the utility company. LIHWAP runs through September 2023 or until the funds are exhausted.
How Do I Know if I Qualify for LIHWAP?
If your water or wastewater services have been cut off or if you have received notice that your services are in danger of being cut off because your bill is past due, you may be eligible!
Who is eligible to receive LIHWAP?
To be eligible for the LIHWAP program, a household must have at least one U.S. citizen or non-citizen and: • Has income equal to or less than 150% of the federal poverty level, • Has household services that are disconnected, in jeopardy of disconnection or have a current outstanding bill, and • Is responsible for the water bill 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. Please contact your local county Department of Social Services for more information.
How do I apply?
If your water has been cut off, or if you have received a notice that your water is going to be cut off, you can apply online at www.epass.nc.gov beginning December 1, 2021. You can also apply in person at your local county Department of Social Services, by phone by calling your local county Department of Social Services or print out a paper application at www.epass.nc.gov and drop it off or fax it to your local county Department of Social Services.
What if my service is not being cut off, but I need help paying my water bill?
Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, all households who need help paying their water bill can apply for assistance if they meet the eligibility requirements. LIHWAP runs through September 30, 2023 or until funds are exhausted.
8/16/21 – NC DHHS – LIHEAP Block Grant Plan for Fiscal year 2022
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides heating, cooling, crisis, and weatherization assistance. States are given broad latitude under block grant funding to design and operate their own programs, under certain restrictions.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is seeking public comment on the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program Block Grant Plan for Federal Fiscal Year 2022, which outlines how the federal LIHEAP block grant funds will be spent in North Carolina in federal fiscal year 2021-2022.
The plan can be viewed at https://www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/social-services/public-notices
The revisions include:
• Updated Federal Poverty Guidelines which are effective October 1, 2021. Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP), Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) and the Summer Cooling Program will operate on the 150% Federal Poverty Level temporarily for FY 22.
• LIEAP Heating Program will allow the priority group of households with individuals 60 or older or disabled receiving DAAS services to start applying November 1, 2021 instead of December 1st.
• Temporary Summer Cooling Program will begin July 1st – September 30th, 2022.
• The maximum benefit amount for the Crisis Intervention Program (CIP) will be increased to $1,000 instead of $600 temporarily for FY 22.
• Resources will not be counted temporarily for any Energy program for FY 22.
The plan may be viewed from August 16-20, 2021 at the following locations:
• Online on the Division of Social Services website
DSS Public Notices Website
• On all 100 Counties DSS websites
County DSS Directory
A virtual public hearing will be held Friday August 20, 2021 at 1 pm. To register please use the link https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/231815950985422091
Comments will be accepted until 5 pm on Monday, August 23, 2021. Comments can be emailed to Jasmyne Simmons at Jasmyne.Simmons@dhhs.nc.gov
5/3/21 – NOTICE TO FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICES RECIPIENTS
Effective April 1, 2021
The President’s Executive Order on Economic Relief Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic, issued January 22, 2021, directed all Federal agencies to consider administrative actions to better address the current economic crisis resulting from the pandemic. As a result, United States Department of Agriculture has issued new guidance to states providing emergency supplements to Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) households.
Under this new policy, households who had not been receiving emergency supplements and those whose emergency supplements were less than $95 per month will receive increased benefits. Emergency supplements will not change for households who had been receiving emergency supplements benefits of $95 or more per month.
You have the right to a fair hearing of your case if you do not agree with our decision. You can request a fair hearing by letting your local county department of social services know of your request. You may request the hearing in person, by telephone, or in writing. The hearing may be requested by any member of your FNS unit or by your representative, including an attorney obtained at your own expense. Free legal advice may be available. Contact your nearest Legal Services Office.
You have 90 calendar days from April 1, 2021 to ask for a hearing. If you do not ask for a hearing by 06/30/2021, you cannot have one.
To find out what your benefits are, Download the ebtEDGE mobile app. The app is available as a free download on the Apple Store and Google Play or call Customer Service at 1-888-622-7328 on the day you normally receive benefits.
If you have any other questions about these changes, contact your local Department of Social Services.
3/1/2021 – NC Medicaid Managed Care – Call the DSS Hotline for updates (336) 290-0355
Most people will get the same Medicaid services in a new way – through health plans. You will be able to choose the health plan that is best for you. Medicaid beneficiaries will be able to choose from five health plans – WellCare, United HealthCare, Healthy Blue, AmeriHealth Caritas and Carolina Complete Health.
Open enrollment will begin March 15, 2021, and will continue through May 14, 2021. Enroll in one of these ways:
- Go to ncmedicaidplans.gov
- Use the NC Medicaid Managed Care mobile app
- Call us toll free at 1-833-870-5500 (TTY: 1-833-870-5588)
- When you receive an enrollment form, fill it out and mail or fax it back
To learn more about NC Medicaid Managed Care visit https://www.ncmedicaidplans.gov/
10/6/20 – Corona Virus Relief Act 3.0 – Extra Credit Grant
On September 4, Governor Roy Cooper signed into law the Coronavirus Relief Act 3.0, which was passed by the North Carolina General Assembly. The law includes the Extra Credit Grant program to be administered by the North Carolina Department of Revenue.
According to the law, the purpose of the program is to “use funds from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to help families with qualifying children in North Carolina by providing economic support to assist with virtual schooling and child-care costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The grant amount is $335.00 total for each eligible individual, even if the individual has two or more qualifying children.
- NCDOR will award a grant to eligible individuals who report at least one qualifying child (age 16 or younger) on their 2019 state individual income tax return; spouses who file a joint state return count as one individual.
- Eligible individuals who have filed their state return and reported at least one qualifying child do not need to take any action to receive the grant.
- An individual who did not file a 2019 state tax return solely because the individual’s gross income for the 2019 taxable year did not exceed the state filing requirements for the individual’s filing status (generally $10,000 per year if single and $20,000 per year if married) may apply for a grant.
- An applicant must meet the all requirements referenced in the law, including having at least one qualifying child age 16 or younger for the 2019 calendar year, to apply for the grant by October 15, 2020.