LIHWAP Frequently Asked Questions

Seal of the City of ChicagoCEDA Logo 


You can also view this LIHWAP FAQ in Spanish.


What are LIHWAP benefits?

LIHWAP (Low Income Household Water Assistance Program) is a federally funded program designed to assist low-income households with paying their past due water and wastewater (sewer) bills.

For City of Chicago and Cook County residents, CEDA is the official agency that approves LIHWAP, LIHEAP, and UBR applications. You can learn more at and you can apply for LIHWAP and other programs and services by calling the CEDA hotline at 1-800-571-2332.


What is the income eligibility?

Your household meets the gross income qualification for LIHEAP, which is generally 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

Persons in Household

30-Day Income Guideline


















What type of countable income do you use for eligibility determination?

Gross Income. Gross income is defined as the individual’s total pay before taxes or other deductions. This includes income from all sources and is not limited to income received in the form of wages earned, self-employment income, cash earned/gifted, unemployment benefits, and child support; it also includes fixed income sources like Social Security Administration Benefits (SSA), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veteran Administration benefits, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Aid to the Aged, Blind, and Disabled (AABD) and pension income.


What water and/or wastewater (sewer) accounts are eligible?

For City of Chicago residents, any residential property type that serves as your primary residence and has a past due balance of $50 or greater. Households with water disconnected may be eligible for LIHWAP benefits. Before submitting an application, please call 312-744-4426 to begin the water reconnection process.  We will help you begin that process whether or not you are approved for a LIHWAP benefit.

For Cook County residents outside the City of Chicago, the account must be disconnected, have a disconnection notice, or have a past due balance of $50 or greater.  It must be a residential account that is the applicant’s primary residence.


How will I receive LIHWAP benefits for my household?

The program’s approved amount will pay the arrearage/past due amount toward your current water bill. Benefits are paid directly to the City of Chicago Department of Finance and the payment will appear on your utility bill.


How much will I receive in LIHWAP benefits?

LIHWAP benefits are based on the past due amount on the water and/or wastewater (sewer) bill, up to a maximum of $1,500 per household. LIHWAP benefits are based on the actual amount of current water and/or sewer arrears that are past due.  LIHWAP can only eliminate a past due balance, it cannot create an additional credit (overpayment) on your account.


Will I need to pay back my LIHWAP benefits?

No. Households who receive LIHWAP benefits will not have to pay back the benefits.

The only instance that would require repayment would be if there is a determination that the application submitted was incomplete or fraudulent and the application should not have been approved.


When will I receive LIHWAP benefits?

Your LIHWAP income eligibility will be determined within 30 days of CEDA receiving your documentation.  Because LIHWAP is a brand-new program, it may take one or two billing cycles for the benefit to appear on your bill; however, accounts that are disconnected or facing disconnection will be prioritized.

If you are missing information or documentation, you should expect a denial letter from CEDA within 30 days of CEDA receiving your documentation that indicates what steps to take for your application to proceed.


Are there other benefits or programs besides LIHWAP that can help my family?

Yes. LIHWAP’s eligibility requirements align with the requirements of some other assistance programs, including LIHEAP assistance for heat and electric bills, and Utility Billing Relief (UBR) for additional City of Chicago utility assistance.

For City of Chicago and Cook County residents, CEDA is the official agency that approves LIHWAP, LIHEAP, and UBR applications. You can learn more at and you can apply for LIHWAP and other programs and services by calling the CEDA hotline at 1-800-571-2332.


What if I already receive water bill assistance through the City of Chicago’s Utility Billing Relief (UBR) Program?

You may still be eligible for LIHWAP benefits if the past due amount is $50 or more.


What is considered a past due bill?

LIHWAP requires the submission of your most recent water and/or wastewater (sewer) bill(s).  Your benefit amount will be based on the past due amount on that bill.

For customers enrolled in UBR, the set-aside balance may be used for LIHWAP eligibility.


Can LIHWAP help with my broken pipes or leaky faucets?

No. LIHWAP funds are only available for water and/or wastewater (sewer) bill assistance.


Who should complete and sign the application?

The application can be completed by any adult residing in the household.


What address should I list?

You may only apply at your permanent, primary residence.


Can renters apply?

Renters may apply for LIHWAP assistance.  They will still need to supply the household’s most recent water and/or wastewater (sewer) bill(s), and they will also need to provide documentation proving that the water and wastewater (sewer) costs are included in their rent (ex.: a lease including that language).  The LIHWAP benefit will still be applied to the water and/or wastewater (sewer) account(s).


Can undocumented customers apply for LIHWAP?

Households must include at least one documented resident; the documented resident does not need to be the homeowner, the customer of record on the account, or an adult. Households can include undocumented members.


Where do I go if I have questions about LIHWAP benefits?

For more information about LIHWAP please call the CEDA hotline at 1-800-571-2332.

Supporting Information Facts

I Want To