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Frequently Asked Questions

Participation/Enrollment

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What are the qualifications for a water supplier (Vendor) to be eligible for the LIHWAP program?

Eligible system definition is one that provides water for human consumption through pipes or other constructed conveyances to at least 15 service connections or serves an average of at least 25 people for at least 60 days a year. Click here to see the list of currently enrolled water suppliers.

How can we confirm if our water and/or wastewater Vendor is eligible?

Eligible system definition is one that provides water for human consumption through pipes or other constructed conveyances to at least 15 service connections or serves an average of at least 25 people for at least 60 days a year.

The goal of the LIHWAP is to restore services or prevent service disconnections. Our Vendor does not disconnect water service for non-payment. Are we still eligible to apply?

Yes.

How does a water supplier (Vendor) participate?

Drinking water and wastewater Vendors throughout Arkansas are invited to participate in LIHWAP.  To participate, complete the LIHWAP agreement here. Once enrolled, the Vendor is enabled to receive LIHWAP benefit payments on behalf of its customers. In turn, the Vendor is required to confirm that payments have been applied correctly to LIHWAP specified accounts.

Why do I have to submit a W9?

The W9 is requested from all water, wastewater, and billing systems to verify information such as Legal Business Name, Address, Tax ID, and Federal Tax Classification for determining IRS 1099 Reporting Requirements and to ensure payments are sent to the correct recipient and address.  Customers are excluded from providing a W9.

Who completes the W9?

The water or wastewater Vendor will complete the W9 information section during the enrollment process and upload a copy of the W9. This is not a requirement for the customer. 1099s will be issued at year end for those water or wastewater Vendors for which it is required, as many companies may be exempt. We will use the W9 submitted to determine if the water or wastewater Vendor is exempt or not from receiving a 1099.

When submitting the Direct Payment Application, is a wet signature required?

No. Digital signatures are acceptable. 

What is the definition of "authorized signature"?

An authorized signer is someone who has authority to sign on behalf of your organization.

PAYMENT TO VENDORS

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How will the utility be paid?

LIHWAP offers payment by electronic deposit or check, based on Vendor preference.  Choice of payment method and necessary information for payment are part of the secure online LIHWAP enrollment process.

What is the timeframe for receiving payments?

Payments will be sent weekly with a payment summary that includes all customer account information necessary to process LIHWAP payments.  The Vendor is required to return the summary with confirmation that payments have been credited to the correct accounts. If you opt to receive payments via ACH, you may expect payment within five (5) business days; for check, up to fifteen (15) business days.

If a Vendor opts for payment by ACH instead of paper check, how will you communicate account numbers to us?

LIHWAP will provide a direct pay summary along with each payment. The direct pay summary will identify the customers by account and the amount of benefit to be applied. Vendors will access the direct pay summary via the Vendor portal. View the recorded webinar for the details of the process.

GENERAL PAYMENT QUESTIONS/ISSUES

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If a customer has been notified of a date that water will be disconnected and they have a confirmation to receive benefits, are we allowed to move forward with service disconnection, or do we have to extend their services and wait to receive funds? If we don’t disconnect them, can we still charge late fees?

The customer’s household water service must continue for at least ninety (90) days upon receiving notice to pay or payment of LIHWAP benefit.

If the customer has a new bill due by the time you issue payment, how will the payment affect the future bills?

At this time, the program is not designed to pay future bills. The current program will pay past-due charges (arrearages), taxes and fees.

Can payments be applied towards future bills as well?

No. Arkansas LIHWAP pays arrears only.

We bill for multiple services, including household garbage collection, brush/limb removal, and landscaping water usage. Will LIHWAP pay the entire bill?

No. Statutory language specifies that assistance is allowed only for drinking water, wastewater, and related charges, which may include standard reconnection fees, charges, and penalties.

If a customer was placed on a payment program to cover an unpaid balance, can they use this one-time payment to cover the balance of the payment program?

Yes. This is allowable, so long as the customer is able to prove the balance of the payment program.

If a customer has partially paid, and we receive funds from HORNE resulting in a credit balance, is the customer eligible to have the credit balance refunded?

No.  Return any credit to LIHWAP.

Can we apply the funds to a current balance after past due has been paid by the customer?

No. Return the overpayment to LIHWAP.

Are we required to return funds to HORNE if a customer paid their account in full before we receive LIHWAP funds?

Yes.

If a customer with an outstanding balance moves, can the LIHWAP benefit be used to pay that balance?

If the customer has moved and needs to have the outstanding bill paid in order to have services connected at the new residence, then LIHWAP benefits can be used for the past due amount at the former residence.

Some of our customers have arrearages accrued from a previous tenant. Can the property owner (who is not low-income) apply to this program to cover past arrearage?

No. The customer must apply directly. The property owner is not able to collect past arrearages from a prior tenant through this program.

What if we receive a payment and the amount does not pay the applicant’s arrearage?

If the payment does not result in service being restored or continued, you must return the benefit payment to LIHWAP. For questions or help in returning the benefit, contact [email protected] or (888) 985-6441.

VENDOR REPORTING

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What reports are the Vendors required to provide?

Vendors are required, within 30 days of receiving a payment, to submit to LIHWAP a Direct Payment Summary (format will be provided) that reconciles the benefits credited to customer accounts in the direct payment file.  The payment summary is a Pay run summary with Excel Spreadsheet/CSV that shows the detail of the payment going to each vendor.  The vendor submits the  direct pay summary to show how much of payments was applied, and if not all applied, LIHWAP will provide the vendor an Excel Spreadsheet/CSV template for them to detail what funds they are returning and why. 

How often is reporting expected?

Monthly. The Direct Payment Summary you provide LIHWAP is your only reporting requirement.

Will there be a template provided so we know exactly what requirements you need for reporting?

Yes. Recorded orientation session where templates will be demonstrated and explained. Click here or see the videos below. 

What is the responsibility of the Vendor to monitor or follow up on the tenant/landlord interactions?

You have no responsibility.

BENEFITS

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Can the Vendor apply for LIHWAP bill payment assistance on behalf of a customer?

No. The Vendor cannot apply on behalf of a customer and cannot receive payment for outstanding bills if it does not restore water service or prevent disconnection of water service.

We bill water and wastewater together. Can a customer apply for both balances?

Yes. Both services can be covered by the LIHWAP program. Priority will be given to drinking water.

My customer’s drinking water and wastewater are billed separately. Can the LIHWAP benefit be split?

Yes. LIHWAP can make separate payments for water and wastewater if two different companies provide the services. Priority will be given to drinking water.  The total of both payments cannot exceed $2,000.

Can a customer apply more than once?

This is a one-time payment program for up to $2000 in assistance and currently customers would not be allowed to apply again.

CUSTOMER ASSISTANCE

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Where will the customer get an application?

The customer will get an application from the application portal on arkansaslihwap.com.

If a customer qualifies for other assistance programs, does that mean they would qualify for LIHWAP?

Customers who receive benefits from LIHEAP, SNAP, SSI, and TANF are considered Categorically Eligible, which means they automatically qualify for LIHWAP benefits.

For customers who apply for LIHEAP, will LIHWAP require a separate application?

Yes.

If an applicant’s rent includes water utilities , are they still eligible to apply? If so, how is payment handled?

Yes.  The landlord will be asked to complete and submit a completed Landlord/Management Authorization to apply and the applicant can submit the completed authorization form with their application.  If the household is approved to receive a LIHWAP benefit, the payment will be sent to the landlord’s water company and will reduce the amount the household owes the landlord.

Is there an alternate method our applicants can use if they are unable to scan their documents into .pdf format?

The portal accepts documents in the following formats:  .pdf, .jpg, .png, .gif, .tiff, .bmp.

Will the account information reported be protected or will it be available to the public? Will service addresses be released?

Customer information will not be released.

COMMUNICATION

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Where can our water utility sign up to receive direct communication to stay up to date on the program?
Are any services or literature available in Spanish?

Yes.

Do you have a customer service phone number or email where we direct any questions?

For questions related to water/wastewater Vendor enrollment or payments, please contact [email protected]. For questions regarding customer eligibility, please contact your case manager.  You will have a case manager assigned once you apply and he/she will reach out to you if they need additional information from you. 

Videos & Webinars


Arkansas LIHWAP Introduction Webinar

This webinar is to inform Arkansas water and wastewater utilities about the Arkansas Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), including the program’s guidelines, how it assists your customers, how to complete the enrollment process, and how payments are issued.

Community Resources

Before you proceed...

The following items will be helpful to have on hand to complete your application:

  • Valid Identification for Application (and spouse/co-borrower, if applicable)
  • Federal Tax Return for Applicant for Year of Hardship (and spouse/co-borrower, if applicable)
  • Proof of Homeownership
  • Mortgage/Utility/Internet Statements Displaying Delinquency 

 

Understood. Take me to the application.

 

If you would like more information regarding documents needed to apply, please review the HAF Document Checklist.

If you are looking to apply for Utility Payment Assistance but have not yet applied for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), please visit the Arkansas Energy and Environmental Quality website for program information and instructions on how to apply. This is a requirement to pre-qualify for Utility Payment Assistance under HAF.