Lifeline discounts eligible consumers who use landline telephone service or broadband internet (broadband is only available in some states). The discount can be applied to one service per household. Program providers must adhere to rules and regulations, including annual certifications and customer eligibility verification. Non-compliance can lead to penalties and dis-enrollment from the program.
Lifeline is an FCC program that helps make communication services more affordable for low-income consumers. The program offers subscribers a discount on their monthly telephone service, broadband Internet or bundled voice-broadband packages purchased from participating wireline or wireless service providers.
The program is funded through contributions collected from service providers. To be eligible for the program, you must demonstrate that your income is less than 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
To determine whether your household qualifies, use the Lifeline National Verifier or contact your service provider directly to apply for the program. In some states, you can also apply with the assistance of a social worker or community leader. Once you have used the program, you must recertify annually to ensure your eligibility. Your service provider will notify you of this requirement via a letter or pre-recorded message on your phone. To keep your discount, it is important to recertify promptly. If you participate in Lifeline qualifying programs, you can qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) to help reduce the cost of your monthly internet service. Whether for Lifeline or ACP, the discount is only valid for a single household and must be applied to the same service plan. Households that do not follow this rule may lose their discounts and face legal action by the United States government.
You may qualify for Lifeline services depending on your income and participation in qualifying programs. Eligible consumers are required to provide documentation of their income, which is verified through the National Verifier by phone or online. Documentation includes verification of participation in the following programs:
Residents eligible for Lifeline can also receive a discounted phone and broadband service through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). This discount will help ensure that low-income households can afford 21st-century connectivity services that allow them to stay connected to jobs, health care, and family and to access online resources and educational opportunities.
You can apply online or by phone with your chosen broadband, wireline or wireless provider to determine your eligibility for this federal assistance program. The fastest way to get an eligibility decision is to apply online with the National Verifier. Still, you can also complete a paper application and submit it with proof of your eligibility.
It is important to note that you can only receive one Lifeline benefit per household, and it cannot be transferred between providers. Additionally, it would help if you recertified your eligibility annually to continue receiving this subsidy. Failing to recertify could result in dis-enrollment from the program. You must notify your Lifeline provider within 30 days if your circumstances change.
Lifeline is a federal program that makes communications services more affordable for low-income consumers. The program offers a monthly discount for telephone service, broadband Internet, or a bundled voice/broadband package from participating wireline and wireless companies. This discount ensures that low-income households have access to 21st-century connectivity services and the opportunities they provide.
To qualify for Lifeline, consumers must meet income requirements and prove their status to the carrier using a verification process or other documentation. Proof of eligibility can include a current pay stub, a utility bill, or an award letter from SNAP, TANF, SSI, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Head Start, or Food Distribution on Indian Reservations. Consumers can also establish eligibility through participation in other government programs, including the Link Up program for individuals living on tribal lands.
In most states, Lifeline applicants can receive the fastest confirmation with online applications through the National Verifier or by completing a paper application and submitting it to the carrier. A single household can only have one Lifeline benefit: a phone or a broadband/Internet connection. The non-transferable benefit cannot be applied to the same service provider from different plans.
Customers wishing to switch providers must notify the current service provider of their decision and complete an annual re-certification of eligibility to continue receiving the benefit. To avoid interruption in service, it is recommended that you contact your internet company directly to confirm the ACP benefits are available for your service plan and to see how to enroll.
If your household qualifies for Lifeline, the service provider will provide a bill credit and waive federal subscriber line charge for landline telephone services or a discounted monthly broadband Internet plan. In addition to a monthly discount, some providers offer a free wireless phone and mobile data plan for new subscribers. The eligibility requirements vary by state, but a typical household income is 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
You might qualify for Lifeline if you or any household member receives assistance from one of the government programs listed below or your annual income is 135% or less of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. If your household’s income qualifies you, you must prove it.
The list of acceptable documents varies by state, so contact your service provider to learn which forms of documentation are accepted.
You must recertify annually to ensure you meet Lifeline’s income-qualifying standard. You can recertify online, by phone, or by mail. To recertify, you must provide proof of your participation in a qualifying program or proof of income that reflects your current status.
The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) may be available to New Yorkers who meet the eligibility requirements for Lifeline. ACP gives a one-time discount on a connected device with internet access and a monthly discount on broadband internet service.