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Utility Billing Relief FAQ

Utility Billing Relief FAQ
Program Benefits Program Benefits

How much can I save?

50% on water, sewer and water-sewer tax going forward (garbage fees are not included). After successfully completing the first 12 months of the program, your previous unpaid balance will be forgiven.

Eligibility Eligibility

To be eligible for UBR, applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • Property must be a single family, 2-unit or 3-unit.
  • Applicant must be an owner of the property.
  • Applicant must reside in the property.
  • Applicant must provide the Social Security Number(SSN), Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), or other form of identification.
  • Applicant must meet the income eligibility requirements and provide supporting documentation. When calculating income, you must include any income from all persons living in the household received in the last 30 days. Your household must meet the income qualification for LIHEAP, which is generally 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Please see the income qualifications for the size of your household below.
Household Size
30 Day Gross Income
Application Tool kit Application Tool kit

What to know before you begin the UBR application.

  • You must complete this application in one session. You will not be able to save and resume at a later time.
  • For security purposes, your session will expire after 30 minutes of inactivity and you will need to start over.
  • You must provide a current, accurate email address to which you have access. A confirmation will be emailed to you upon successful completion of your application.
  • You must have all required supporting documentation saved to your device to upload with the application. For a list of documents required for each section, please read the instructions below before you begin.

Application Instructions

Property Verification

In order to access the UBR application, you must enter your utility billing account number which can be Sample StatementSample Statement imagefound on your bill. If you do not know your account number, please contact our utility billing customer service at 312-744-4426.

Owner Information

Enter the property owner information. The property owner must reside at the service address and must also be listed on the utility bill. Any discrepancies will delay processing of the application. Please be sure to provide your correct email address to which you currently have access. This email address will be used to send you a confirmation upon successful completion of the application.

Household Members

A household member is defined as any individual who is currently living in the household such as friends. For each household member who lives at this address, you must include:

  • Social Security Number and/or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number. If a member of your household does not have either, you must provide a copy of any one of the documents listed here.
  • Documentation which supports income and benefits received within the last 30 calendar days. See below for additional guidance regarding income and benefits.
  • If self-employed, a completed Self-Employment Worksheet.
  • Income received for a minor (i.e. child support or SSI) should be reported by the Parent/Guardian.

Income Types and Supporting Documentation

All household members 18 years of age and older, must submit proof of gross income (before taxes) earned within the last 30 days (including the date of application). This includes income earned from any of the following:

  • Wages earned
  • Self-Employment
  • Cash Earned/Gifted
  • Unemployment Benefits
  • Child Support
  • Fixed Income Sources:
    • Social Security Administration Benefits (SSA)
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • Veteran Administration Benefits
    • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
    • Aid to the Ages, Blind, and Disabled (AABD)
    • Pensions

Supporting Documentation by Income Type

Earned Wages, Salaries, Tips

  • Gather all check stubs received in the last 30 days (including the date of the application)
  • Total ALL the gross pay amounts from each pay stub
  • Report the total amount calculated
  • Scan/Save all check stubs to the device you're using to apply for UBR

Self-Employment Income

  • Complete the Self-Employment Worksheet for income earned and expenses for the last 30 days (including the date of application)
  • Report the total calculated amount
  • Save your self-employment worksheet to the device you're using to apply for UBR


  • Gather all benefit award letters received for the current calendar year
  • Identify the gross amount received on a monthly basis from all benefits received
  • Subtract Medicare payments and child support payments from the gross amount received
  • Add any voluntary deductions such as Federal Taxes back to your gross amount received
  • Total ALL the gross amounts from all benefits received
  • Scan/Save all award letters to the device you're using to apply for UBR


  • Obtain a copy of your award letter from Illinois Department of Employment Security
  • Identify your monthly benefit received BEFORE voluntary deductions for Federal and State Taxes Withheld
  • Scan/Save your award letter to the device you're using to apply for UBR

VA Benefits/RRA/Pensions

  • Obtain a copy of your award letter(s)
  • Identify your monthly benefit received BEFORE voluntary deductions for Federal and State Taxes Withheld
  • Scan/Save your award letter to the device you're using to apply for UBR

For more information on how to calculate income, please see below. Income is subject to verification; therefore records should be maintained for 12 months from this date.

Type of Income
Required Documents
Wages, Salaries, Tips
Wages, Salaries, Tips Check stubs for last 30-day period.
Cash Income/Gift
Cash Income/Gift Total received within last 30-day period and a brief description.
Self-employed Income Worksheet
Current SSI Award Letter/printout
Current SSA Award Letter/printout
Unemployment Compensation
State award letter, proof of deposit
DHS Award Letter
DHS Award Letter
VA Benefits
Current VA Benefit Award Letter
Current Statement/benefit letter
Pensions Award/benefit letter
Child Support, Rental Income

How to Upload Multiple Documents

Because proof of income is required for a 30-day period, you may be required to provide multiple documents with your application. If using a computer, simply hold down the Shift key while clicking on the documents you wish to attach. If using a smart phone, choose the applicable photos and select attach.

Calculating Income

You are required to report the gross amount of income received for each member of the household. Any amounts received for the benefit of a child such as SSI, Disability and/or child support must be included in the income of the parent/guardian, as no income information is required for minors under the age of 18.

Please note, the following should be deducted from gross income before reporting the total for any household member:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
  • Back Pay (wages or benefits)
  • Child Support Garnishments
UBR Re-enrollment Re-enrollment Information

Re-enrollment Information

Customers who have no past due balance on their UBR anniversary date will complete the UBR program successfully and will have the unpaid balance that was temporarily set aside at enrollment permanently forgiven. Successful customers may be eligible for re-enrollment, which would allow them to continue paying the lower UBR water, sewer, and water-sewer tax rates for an additional year.

Customers who are not current on their UBR anniversary date will be deemed unsuccessful in completing the UBR program. A customer who was unsuccessful once will be given a second opportunity to complete a year on the program and have their past due charges permanently forgiven.

The re-enrollment window for both successful and unsuccessful UBR customers is 30 days before and 30 days after their anniversary date. The ability to successfully re-enroll for another 12 months in UBR is based upon the following conditions:

  • You have not been unsuccessful in the UBR Program more than once
  • Your household applied for LIHEAP benefits in the last 12 months and was successful, or your household meets the income qualification for LIHEAP, which is generally 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
  • Your property has remained a single family, 2-flat or 3-flat residence
  • You have not moved from the property
  • You have not sold your property

UBR re-enrollment options:

  • Visit www.chicago.gov/ubr to check your home’s eligibility and choose one of the following ways to re-enroll:
    • Select “Current LIHEAP Participants” if you have received a LIHEAP benefit in the last 11 months and know your LIHEAP ID or the account number of the gas or electric account that received the benefit
    • Select “Apply for LIHEAP and UBR” to apply for the two programs together
    • Select “Apply for UBR Only” to upload your documents and complete a full UBR re-enrollment application online

If you don’t have internet access or would prefer to complete an application with the assistance of a trained intake specialist, please call CEDA at (800)571-CEDA (2332) to make re-enrollment arrangements.

How to Apply How to Apply

Once you have verified property and income eligibility, you may choose from one of the following options:

  • Current LIHEAP participants may apply using only their PIPP ID, LIHEAP DVP AppID or their Utility Account Number
  • Apply for both LIHEAP and UBR by contacting CEDA
  • Apply for UBR only using our online application

To begin, confirm if your property and income meet the UBR Requirements

Application Process Application Process

What is required to apply?

The same documentation required for a LIHEAP application and your City of Chicago utility account number. Proof of identity and proof of income for all members of the household regardless of age or legal residency. If you don't have access to your City of Chicago utility account number, you can call us at (312)744-4426 to request a copy of your bill.

I received a denial letter/email; what should I do?

If we are unable to approve your application for UBR, you will receive a letter or email with the reason(s) for denial and instructions on how to proceed. If you feel you were denied in error please contact the organization listed on the letter or email.

How do I know if I'm approved?

You will receive a welcome letter and enrollment confirmation.

What's the turn around time?

Processing time for applications is up to 30 days from the receipt of the complete UBR application.

Information for Enrolled Customers Information for Enrolled Customers

Will my billing change?

Customers with nonmetered accounts will continue to be billed monthly. Customers with metered accounts who are not already being billed monthly will begin to receive a monthly bill after being enrolled in UBR.

What happens to my previous balance?

During the first 12 months of program participation, your previous balance will be set aside, and no payment will be required on the previous balance. After successful completion of the first 12 months of the program, your previous unpaid balance will be forgiven.

What is required to successfully complete the program?

You must pay all current charges at the reduced rate during the 12-month program period.

What will my rates be?

50% of water, sewer and water-sewer tax. You can view more information on Water & Sewer Rates and the Water-Sewer Tax.

How often do I have to apply?

Once enrolled, your enrollment will be active for 12 months. At the end of your 12-month enrollment period you must reapply to remain enrolled.

Other Program Questions Other Program Questions

What happens if I don't complete the program?

You will have one more opportunity to complete the program successfully if you reapply and continue to meet the account and income eligibility criteria. If you don't complete the program successfully, your past debt will not be forgiven and the 50% rate reduction will end.

If I don't successfully complete the program, will I be disconnected?

If you do not successfully complete the Utility Billing Relief Program you will be subject to the normal collection process. At this time, the City is not disconnecting water service for nonpayment.

I'm currently enrolled in the MeterSave program; can I apply for UBR?

MeterSave customers are eligible for the UBR Program, but will be permanently removed from the MeterSave program if they enroll in the UBR Program. If the customer does enroll in UBR they will no longer be eligible for the MeterSave Program.

What will happen for customers with the Senior Citizen Sewer Exemption?

Senior citizens with the Senior Citizen Sewer Exemption will lose this exemption if they choose to enroll in the UBR Program. If the customer exits from the UBR Program, the Senior Citizen Sewer Exemption will be restored automatically. If you are receiving the Senior Citizen Sewer Exemption the UBR Program may benefit you financially if you have a past due balance. If you successfully pay all UBR bills for a year your past due balance will be forgiven.

Can I reapply after successfully completing the program?

Yes. You will need to verify account and income eligibility through a renewal process.

For Outreach For Outreach
*UPDATE: Household must meet the income qualification for LIHEAP, which is generally 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

Program Information - PDFs

UBR Pre-Qualification for Property Transfer UBR Pre-Qualification for Property Transfer

Program Information - PDFs