Frequently Asked Questions

Rate Assistance Program


How do I qualify for rate assistance?

Rate assistance is available to homeowners and renters who live at the address for which they’re requesting assistance. The applicant’s name MUST appear on the sewer bill. Applicants must meet the income eligibility requirements. These requirements are based on the total gross income for all members living in the home.

Rate assistance is NOT available to landlords for their rental properties. As well, homeowners can only receive assistance with the home in which they live.

I’m a renter. Can I qualify for the rate assistance if my name is on the sewer bill?

Rate assistance is primarily for homeowners, but if you are a renter whose name appears on the sewer bill, and you are totally responsible for paying that bill, you may qualify for assistance.

I live in an apartment. Can I qualify for Lifeline Rate Assistance?

Unfortunately, our Sewer Lifeline Rate Assistance Program is not currently available to apartment residents.

I’m a renter, but my name isn’t on the bill. What should I do?

Tell your landlord that you need your name added to the sewer bill to receive rate assistance. It is the owner’s responsibility to call the billing office and add your name to the bill. Once this is done, call the Sewer Lifeline Hotline at 916-875-5500 and leave us a message saying your name is now added to the bill.

Do I need to provide proof of income eligibility?

To qualify for rate assistance, you can provide either proof of participation in SMUD’s or PG&E’s low-income rate assistance programs (your award letter or a bill that shows you receive assistance), OR income documentation for all members of your family. Examples of income documentation include income statements from Social Security or Unemployment payments; wage check stubs; bank statements showing direct deposits; or tax documents. Before mailing, remember to blacken out all highly secure information such as Social Security or bank account numbers. These documents will NOT be returned to you.

I received a rate assistance approval letter. How can I tell if I will get a credit on my bi-monthly bill or a once-a-year check?

If you normally receive a Sacramento County Joint Utility Bill every two months, you should see a credit on your bill. There are, however, exceptions to this. If you live in a duplex or other multi-family dwelling, you might receive a check instead of a credit. If you receive a monthly utility bill from the cities of Sacramento or Folsom, you will receive a yearly check instead of a bill credit. If you live in a mobile home park, you will receive a yearly check.

Can I request a check instead of a credit?


How long will it take for the credit to appear on my bill?

The credit will appear on either your next bill or the following bill depending on your bill’s print cycle. If no credit has appeared by your second bill after approval, please call the hotline at 916-875-5500.

Do I need to apply separately for Sacramento County Solid Waste and Water Agency rate assistance?

If you receive service from these agencies and you qualify for Sewer Lifeline Rate Assistance, you will automatically be added to the Sacramento County Solid Waste and Sacramento County Water Agency rate assistance programs.

How do I know if I also qualify for Sacramento County Solid Waste and Water Agency rate assistance?

If you are a homeowner billed for garbage or water on a Sacramento County Joint Utility Bill, you should automatically receive Lifeline for these services as well. Check your next two utility bills to see if you received credits under the billing for garbage or water, or you can call the billing office at 916-875-5555 and inquire whether you qualify for garbage or water Lifeline Rate Assistance. Even though you may live in Sacramento County, unless you receive your garbage collection and water service directly from the County of Sacramento, you cannot receive these rebates. Check your utility bills. You could receive your solid waste collection service from one of the local cities, and your water service could be provided by any of 20 different local agencies or businesses.

Do I need to reapply each year for rate assistance?

No, once you’re approved for the program, you will receive assistance until we notify you that it’s time to recertify.

I live in a mobile home and do not receive a bill from the City or County. How do I prove I’m responsible for my utility charges?

You should receive a monthly space rental bill from your mobile home park office. This bill usually contains line-item charges for sewer and garbage. Send in a copy of this bill—making sure that your name is listed as the bill payer—along with your application.

I’ve been receiving rate assistance, but recently my income has increased, so I no longer qualify. What should I do?

Just call the rate assistance hotline at 916-875-5500 and tell us that you no longer qualify for the program and would like to be removed. If in the future you become eligible again, just reapply for the program.

My parent was receiving rate assistance but has recently passed away. What should I do?

Call the rate assistance hotline at 916-875-5500 and tell us that your parent is deceased, and he or she will be removed from the program. If you would like to receive rate assistance, you must fill out an application and apply for assistance. You cannot inherit your parent’s assistance.

I’m a customer who does not qualify for rate assistance. Are my monthly rates funding this rate-assistance program?

No, the funding for this program comes from non-rate, non-fee revenues (in other words, revenues not derived from customers’ rates and fees).

Where does the Sewer Lifeline Rate Assistance credit appear on my bill?

To see if you are receiving a Lifeline credit on your sewer bill, go to your County Utility Bill and find the page marked “Sewer Service Detail By Premise.” Beneath the Sacramento Area Sewer District charge, the Sewer Lifeline Rate Assistance Program credit will appear if you are currently receiving Lifeline credits.

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