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AARP AARP States New Jersey

AARP NJ Applauds NJ Legislature for Passing Bill to Make Water Assistance More Accessible

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TRENTON, N.J. (March 30, 2023) - AARP New Jersey Director of Advocacy, Evelyn Liebman, provided the following statement:

“We applaud the NJ Legislature for passing S3333/A5020 today so that thousands of residents with low and fixed incomes can more easily access funds that will help pay for past due water bills.

Many water service providers have not signed a vendor contract with the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) which is necessary for their customers to receive assistance from the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP). This has left eligible residents without access to the federally funded program.

Access to affordable and reliable water services is crucial to our health and economic well-being. Nevertheless, too many households face challenges in meeting monthly utility bills. These challenges have only been significantly exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic and health emergency.

It has been well-documented that the pandemic has produced a sharp increase in utility bill arrearages, including for water and wastewater services. Rate increases, as well as inefficient or leaky plumbing that may be found in older homes and apartments, are driving up consumers’ debt. Household water and sewer debt can result in disconnection of service, and at worst, eviction and foreclosure.

Passing S3333/A5020 today is critical as it now requires water service providers to participate in LIHWAP by entering the vendor contract. Residents who are eligible – and who have been eligible – should be able to access the program’s assistance, regardless of who provides their water services.

In addition, S3333/A5020 protects New Jersey residents from practices that could jeopardize their homes and the equity in those homes. Thousands of NJ consumers are subject to municipal utility tax liens and the sale of these liens every year. Many of these consumers may be eligible for LIHWAP assistance, which could help them avoid a lien or satisfy a lien that has been issued or sold.

“On behalf of AARP New Jersey’s more than 1 million Garden State members and all older New Jerseyans, we now urge the Governor to enact S3333/A5020 so that thousands of New Jersey residents can maintain their lifeline utility services.”


About AARP New Jersey 
AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. AARP New Jersey educates and advocates on behalf of those 50 and older on issues that are important to them, their families and to all Garden State residents. The organization works to strengthen New Jersey communities with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. To learn more, visit or follow @AARPNJ on social media. 

About AARP New Jersey
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