If you are in danger of a utility shut off or are currently disconnected, apply for one of the free utility grant programs below and inform your utility company immediately.
If you are having trouble paying your electric, sewer, or water bills, you may be eligible to avoid disconnection through the Winter Termination Program.
Until March 15th, 2023, people unable to pay their utility bills due to circumstances beyond their control, as well as people receiving certain types of public assistance, can receive forbearance by contacting their utility company.
Individuals or families experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness can contact their county social service agency for assistance. After business hours, call 2-1-1 or visit NJ211.org.
The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) has a variety of programs that can help you with utility bills, rent, and the removal of lead hazards from your home.
Use the anonymous "DCAid" screening tool to determine if you are eligible for assistance, and for more information on how to apply.
New Jersey’s Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP)
LIHWAP is a temporary grant that provides forgiveness of overdue water and sewer balances. Call 800-510-3102 if you have any questions or experience difficulty applying.
Universal Service Fund:
The Universal Service Fund (USF) provides monthly credits on electric and gas bills to help make bills more affordable. The income limits for USF have been temporarily raised due to the pandemic, so if you were denied in the past, reapply today!
Starting October 1, 2021, and continuing through September 30, 2023, any USF enrollee with overdue balances of $60 or more will be automatically enrolled by their utility company into the Fresh Start program. Fresh Start provides forgiveness on the overdue balance amount that existed at the time of USF enrollment.
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP):
The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) helps New Jersey households pay for heating costs and certain medically necessary cooling expenses. Renters who have their heating costs included in their rent may also qualify. Applications for HEAP are accepted from October 1st through June 30th. The HEAP program shares its application with the USF program. For application options, click here.
The Payment Assistance for Gas and Electric (PAGE) Program provides relief on gas and electric bills for low- to moderate-income New Jersey households (see income limits above). Eligible applicants must have an overdue balance of at least $100 and not have $15,000 or more in liquid assets. Those who are income eligible for USF should apply for USF first before seeking supplemental assistance from PAGE. To self-screen for program eligibility, apply online, or print an application, please visit https://www.njpoweron.org/. If you have questions or would like an application mailed to you, call (732) 982-8710.
Winter Termination Program:
The Winter Termination Program protects specific categories of customers from having their water, wastewater, gas, or electricity shut off between November 15 and March 15 of each year.
Those enrolled in certain programs (including Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, USF, HEAP, and Lifeline) are protected by the Winter Termination Program, but customers must call their utility company and request WTP protection.
An additional “catch-all” category is also included for those who are unable to pay their utility bills because of circumstances beyond their control, such as unemployment or illness. For more information about the Winter Termination Program, call 1-800-624-0241.
Lifeline Program (Energy Assistance):
Lifeline provides an annual energy benefit to qualified seniors and the disabled. The benefit can help eligible homeowners and renters with electric and/or natural gas costs. You can apply for Lifeline by using the NJSAVE application, available at https://www.nj.gov/humanservices/doas/home/. For more information about Lifeline, call 1-800-792-9745, or click here.
NJ SHARES is a non-profit organization that provides assistance to income-eligible New Jersey households for paying their energy, telephone, broadband (internet), water, tax, rent, and mortgage bills. Applications for NJ SHARES grants can be made at any of the more than 270 participating social service agencies throughout the state or online. For more information, call 1-866-657-4273 or visit https://njshares.org/.
Affordable Connectivity Program (“ACP”):
Overseen by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Affordable Connectivity Program is a program administered by the Universal Service Administrative Co. that helps connect families and households struggling to afford internet service by supplying them with credit for their internet service.
Click to print or submit an application online, visit the Eligibility Widget or call 877-384-2575 for more information on how to apply and eligibility requirements.
Lifeline (Federal Telephone Assistance Program):
The federal Lifeline telephone assistance program offers a monthly benefit of up to $9.25 towards phone or internet services for eligible subscribers (up to $34.25 for those living on Tribal lands).
Eligibility is determined based on your income (135% or less than the federal poverty guidelines) or participation in other assistance programs.
In general, if you participate in any of the following programs you also may qualify for telephone assistance: Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA), Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit, Tribal programs and Medicaid.
Telephone assistance is available to you if you are a qualified residential telephone customer. When you are seeking telephone assistance, please keep in mind that each telephone company and/or each program has different eligibility requirements, different benefits available, and different restrictions. Some programs have restrictions on the optional services available to participants.
The following list of telephone service providers participate in Lifeline Assistance in New Jersey:
- Verizon New Jersey - If you are a Verizon New Jersey customer, please call NJSHARES at 1-888-337-3339.
- CenturyLink/United Telephone Company of New Jersey – 1-800-201-4099
- Tracfone - 1-800-977-3768
- Virgin Mobile - 1-888-898-4888
- Truconnect - 1-800-430-0443
- Xchange -1-877-853-3443
- Q-Link Wireless -1-855-754-6543
- Starlink, (Approved but not currently offering services)
Please contact your local telephone company to participate in any of these programs. Also, to find out more information, you may also call the Universal Service Administration Company (USAC), which administers Lifeline for the Federal Communications Commission by calling 888-641-8722 or by visiting their website.
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