When you encounter a financial crisis, making your payment obligations becomes a struggle. If you are unable to pay your water bill or other basic needs, seek help from one of several organizations in Ohio providing relief to the community. The eligibility requirements and types of assistance you can receive varies depending on the program.
Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel
The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) hotline provides consumers with helpful information about utilities, including finding assistance in covering water bills. The website also provides tips on conserving water to lower your monthly bill. Ohio residents can call 877-742-5622 to reach an OCC employee who can help you locate assistance. The hotline also connects residents with help paying other utilities, such as the electric or phone service.
The Salvation Army offers assistance to cover food, clothing, shelter and utilities. Help is awarded to people who are able to prove they have encountered a financial hardship and have no other resources. Funds are limited. Contact your local office for specific eligibility criteria. For instance, the Toledo Salvation Army requires applicants to bring a disconnection notice along with photo identification, your Social Security card and verification of income for the entire household. The Salvation Army may not pay your entire bill, but will pay enough to provide 30 days of service.
Catholic Charities is a non-profit charitable organization with locations throughout Ohio. The charity provides emergency financial assistance to the community and does not discriminate based on religion, age, race or ethnicity. If you need help paying your water bill, you may be eligible for help through the emergency basic needs program. Along with financial assistance through the charity, the organization can also help you qualify for federal or state assistance programs. To qualify, household income cannot exceed 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL).
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
Low-income families with children living in the home may qualify to receive cash through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Eligible recipients can receive money to cover water bills and other household expenses for up to 60 months. To participate in the program, you are required to work, seek employment or complete a work-related activity. The goal is to help families transition into self-sufficiency. If you qualify for TANF you will likely qualify for the food assistance program, which can help relieve some of the financial burden.
- The Office of Ohio's Consumer Councel: Water General Information
- The Salvation Army Northwest Ohio: Utility Assistance
- Catholic Charities Health and Human Services: Catholic Charities Parish and Community Ministries
- Ohio Department of Job and Family Services: A Summary of Ohio's TANF Program
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: The 2011 HHS Poverty Guidelines