Utilities & Internet

Headline:

Many states have protections against shutting off heat and water in the winter.

Last-reviewed: 4pm, Jan. 19, 2023

Key Resources:

The Basics

  • Many states have protections against shutting off heat and water in the winter.
  • Federal programs provide income-eligible households with discounted internet and phone services.

The Breakdown

  • Heating: Each state receives energy assistance funds from the federal government and distributes them to families through programs like energy bill assistance, weatherization support, and disaster relief. Care teams can help people find their local program with the LIHEAP Clearinghouse (en Español).
  • Internet: The Affordable Connectivity Program provides income-eligible households with a discount on internet services, which often results in free internet. Households that receive WIC are automatically eligible. Care teams can walk people through the National Verifier (en Español) to help determine their eligibility and being the application process.
  • Phone: The Lifeline Program offers a discount on phone and internet service, which often results in a free phone with free minutes. Care teams can walk people through the National Verifier (en Español) to help determine their eligibility and being the application process.
  • Water: Some states have protections against shutting off water in the winter. Care teams can help people find information about their local policies at the LIHEAP Clearinghouse.

Spotlight on tribal benefits:

Many utility programs offer special benefits for American Indians and Alaska Natives with Tribal Membership. These benefits often require a separate application. Completing the wrong application can delay benefits. Care teams can help people increase benefits and reduce wait times by understanding these benefits.

  • Heating: The LIHEAP Clearinghouse has a tribal program locator tool to search for the local tribal office that handles heating assistance.
  • Internet: Income-eligible households on qualified tribal land can receive an additional $25/month. Households that receive Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance or Tribal TANF automatically qualify.
  • Phone: Income-eligible households on qualified tribal land can receive an additional $25/month.

The Bottom Line

  • Care teams can help eligible households apply for utility shut-off protections, maximize budgets, and arrange payment plans for utility debt that may have accrued.