What is the Lifeline Program?
Lifeline is a program that allows low income households to receive discounted telephone services, in order to help them make ends meet each month. For most Americans, having a telephone is a necessity. A telephone is a link to the outside world, often times a necessity in landing a job. It is also something that is relied upon for emergencies, and when a family is in the low income bracket, it can be a difficult bill to manage each month. The following is how an individual can determine if they are eligible for the Lifeline program, and also how they can apply for this federal program.
Who is eligible for Lifeline?
In order to be eligible for Lifeline benefits, a person must first see if their state is a federal default state. These states include Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Dakota and South Dakota. For individuals who reside in a federal default state, an individual must be enrolled in one of the following federal programs in order to be eligible for Lifeline service: Federal Public Housing Assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Medicaid, National School Lunch Program, Supplemental Security Income and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Also, an individual can be deemed eligible if their household income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty line.
You can quickly get started by entering your zip code in the box at the top of this page, we will then help you locate Lifeline providers in your area and provide you with information on how to apply. You can also skip this process and browse providers for your state by clicking here.
If a consumer needs assistance with telephone service, the consumer applies for the program through his or her local telephone company. If the phone company is eligible, it asks the Universal Service Fund's Low Income Program for reimbursement for the difference of the normal charge for service and the discounted rate offered to the consumer. For each family that applies for the Lifeline or Link Up program, the telecommunications carrier must provide the Universal Service Fund's Low Income Program with For 497. The carrier must file the form monthly or quarterly. Depending on the time of the year, some carriers may submit the form for up to 25 months.