Jun 11, 2024

What is Lifeline Assistance?

What is Lifeline Assistance?

Reading time: 9 minutes

Wondering what all the talk is about the Lifeline program? You've come to the right place! In this post, Life Wireless gives you all the details: who is eligible to apply, what documents you need to have on hand, and what you can expect from the Lifeline program.

Let's start by looking at what, exactly, Lifeline service is.

About Lifeline Assistance

Lifeline Assistance is a government program that provides a discount on phone or broadband service for eligible low-income consumers and needy families. It was established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the 1980s and is part of the Universal Service Fund, which aims to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable telecommunications services.

Pretty young woman in denim overalls sending a text.

Get a Monthly Discount on Your Phone or Internet Service!

Under the Lifeline program, qualified low-income consumers can receive a monthly discount on their phone or internet service, making it more affordable for them to stay connected with family, friends, jobs, and emergency services. The program is available to individuals and families who meet certain income requirements or participate in federal assistance programs such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Federal Public Housing Assistance, or Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit.

Mature woman with gray hair and glasses checking her cell.

It's important to note that the specifics of the Lifeline program, including eligibility criteria and the amount of the discount, may vary by state and are subject to change.

Individuals interested in applying for Lifeline assistance should check with their local telecommunications service providers or visit the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) website for the most up-to-date information and application details.

About the Low-Income Lifeline Program

The Low Income Program of the Universal Service Fund (“USF”), which is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (“USAC”), is designed to ensure that quality telecommunications services are available to low-income consumers at just, reasonable, and affordable rates. Similar programs have existed since at least 1985. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 reiterated their importance by including the principle that, "consumers in all regions of the nation, including low income consumers . . . should have access to telecommunications and information services . . ."

 USAC is committed to ensuring program integrity, which is fundamental to USAC's stewardship of the USF. One of the many activities USAC conducts to ensure program integrity is the Payment Quality Assurance (PQA) program, which is designed to generate reliable, comprehensive data about rates of improper payments.

 In the May 8, 1997 First Report and Order (FCC 97-157), the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) established rules to govern Lifeline and Toll Limitation Service program support. Lifeline support reduces eligible consumers' monthly charges for basic telephone service.

Mature couple sitting on a park bench looking at a cell phone.

Qualifying for Low-Income Assistance

Low-Income telephone assistance provides a discount on a subscriber's monthly bill. Eligibility is based on income or participation in assistance programs related to income.

If a consumer participates in any of the following programs, they are qualified for low-income telephone assistance.

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

  • Food Stamps

  • Medicaid

  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)

  • The Veteran’s Pension or Survivor’s Pension benefit

  • Tribal specific programs- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF) and Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) and Head Start

Low Income Eligibility Criteria

Potential subscribers in all states will be able to enroll in the Lifeline program by demonstrating that their household’s annual income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

 Subscribers must present documentation, such as a tax return, evidencing income from the previous full years’ time period. If the documentation relied on does not cover a full year, such as a current pay stub, you must present the same type of documentation covering three consecutive months within the previous twelve months.

 Should you be unable to present three months’ worth of pay stubs, these other forms of documentation that cover a full year’s time period may be used:

  • the prior year’s state, federal, or Tribal tax return,

  • a Social Security statement of benefits,

  • a Veterans Administration statement of benefits,

  • a retirement/pension statement of benefits,

  • an Unemployment/Workmen's Compensation statement of benefits,

  • Federal or Tribal notice letter of participation in General Assistance, or

  • a divorce decree, child support award, or other official document containing income information for at least three months’ time

In addition, applicants are required to present a photo ID issued by a United States federal, state, or local government or Tribal entity.

Additional Lifeline Support details

Lifeline support lowers the cost of basic, monthly local telephone service. An eligible subscriber may receive the Lifeline discount on either a wireline or wireless connection, but the discount is available for only one telephone connection per household. Lifeline does not apply to taxes, surcharges, and mileage charges.

Lifeline Support - Proof of Participation

Customers qualifying for a Lifeline discount will be required to provide proof of participation in an eligible program, or proof that your income is at or below the established guidelines.

After you qualify, choose a phone or internet company, like Life Wireless!, and sign up for service with them. You can also ask your current company to apply your Lifeline benefit to a service you are already getting.

Subscribers may receive a Lifeline discount on either a landline or a wireless service, but they may not receive a discount on both services at the same time. In addition, once you qualify for Lifeline service, the Lifeline program rules require you to use your service every 30 days to keep your benefit.

To Apply for Lifeline

 For more information about the Low-Income Lifeline program please visit: http://www.usac.org/li/

If you participate in one of the eligibility programs, you can apply by filling out the National Verifier Lifeline application at https://nationalverifier.servicenowservices.com/lifeline . Applying online with the Lifeline National Verifier is the fastest way to get a decision.

Have questions?

For questions about lifeline provider Life Wireless, eligible consumers are encouraged to visit our Contact Us page here.

To apply for Lifeline service with Life Wireless, use the Life Wireless Online Enrollment form.











































Posted 1 month ago