In today’s fast-paced world, the need to connect and use phone services is essential. Nevertheless, a lot of low-income households are struggling to gain access to the internet and telecommunications. This is where the Lifeline Program comes into play. With this program, the government ensures that all Americans have the opportunities and security that phone service brings.
This post will give you all the information you should know about the Lifeline program.
What is Lifeline?
Lifeline is the Federal Communications Commission’s program to help make communications services more affordable for low-income people. The FCC Lifeline program offers subscribers a discount on qualifying monthly phone service, broadband Internet service, or voice-broadband bundles from participating wireline or wireless providers. The discounts make it easier for low-income consumers to access jobs, healthcare, and educational resources through 21st-century broadband.
Lifeline During Covid-19
With an eye toward keeping Americans connected during the Coronavirus pandemic, the FCC has temporarily waived recertification, reverification, general de-enrollment, income documentation, and documentation requirements for subscribers living in rural areas on Tribal lands, and has extended these waivers until June 30, 2022. The latest FCC waiver order was released on March 25, 2022. It will ensure most current Lifeline subscribers won’t be involuntarily removed from the Lifeline program during this period of national crisis.
Additionally, the FCC made it easier for those who lost their jobs during the Coronavirus pandemic and who qualify for Lifeline benefits to enroll in the program. On April 29, 2020, the FCC temporarily waived its requirement that consumers providing income documentation must provide three consecutive months of income to qualify for the program. On June 1, 2020, the FCC introduced a simplified Lifeline service enrollment process for tribal members living in rural areas.
History of the Lifeline Program
When did the Lifeline Program start?
The FCC established Lifeline in 1984 during Ronald Reagan’s administration to offer discounted phone service to qualified individuals. Under the 1997 Universal Service Order, the FCC expanded the scope of Lifeline to make it more affordable for low-income households by boosting the federal support amount. Since cell phones became more popular, the FCC made more changes in 2005 so wireless providers could offer free cell phone service using Lifeline benefits.
How long will the Lifeline last?
As of now, the FCC hasn’t declared an end date for the Lifeline Program. Therefore, you can rest assured to enjoy the benefits that this program offers for many years.
How does Lifeline Program work?
The Lifeline assistance program offers discounts on phone and internet service based on household income and size. Subscribers can apply in every state, territory, commonwealth, and tribal land in the U.S., as long as they meet certain income requirements.
After applying for the program, consumers can select a phone or internet company that offers the benefit and enroll. Companies must meet certain standards on Lifeline-supported devices, including the number of usage minutes allowed, specified mobile and home internet speeds, and the option of a hot-spot-enabled device.
What are Lifeline benefits?
Low-income subscribers who qualify for Lifeline can receive a discount of up to $9.25 per month on service, and those on Tribal lands can receive up to $34.25 per month. The Lifeline discount is available for either wireline or wireless services, but subscribers may not receive it for both at the same time. It is also compatible with broadband Internet service and broadband voice bundles.
As mentioned above, consumers can choose a qualified provider that offers the Lifeline program. Each provider has its own offers and you can pick the best Lifeline providers.
Click here to learn more about the Lifeline benefit.
Who is qualified for the Lifeline Program?
The Lifeline Program is available to qualifying individuals that meet certain eligibility requirements.
If you meet one of these requirements below, you may qualify for the Lifeline Program and receive free monthly internet service:
- Your income is at or below 135% of Federal Poverty Guidelines.
- You or someone in your house participate in one of the following programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
- If you live on Tribal lands, you can receive Lifeline if you have a household income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or if you (or someone in your household) participate in any of the following programs:
- Any of the federal assistance programs mentioned above
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Head Start (only households meeting the income qualifying standard)
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Getting Lifeline through Your Child or Dependent: You can get Lifeline if your child or dependent participates in any of the programs above.
How to apply for the Lifeline program?
What is needed to apply?
Your full name, date of birth, last four digits of your Social Security Number, and address are required.
How to sign up for the federal Lifeline program?
- You can apply for Lifeline online by visiting Lifelinesupport.org and completing the application.
- Once you have qualified for the Lifeline benefit, choose a phone or internet provider and sign up with them. It is also possible to ask your current company to apply the Lifeline benefit to a service you are already receiving if it offers the Lifeline benefit.
- Once they sign you up, you will start receiving your Lifeline benefit.
FAQs about the Lifeline Program
How is the FCC involved?
An approved company can participate in the Lifeline Program, which is operated by the Federal Communications Commission. This program offers qualified customers free internet service for the duration of the program, which is a non-transferable discount program limited to one per household. In order to learn more about the FCC and its Lifeline program, visit the FCC’s official website.
What is the national Verifier?
The National Verifier (NV) is Lifeline Program’s centralized application system. The NV determines whether consumers are eligible for Lifeline. USAC manages the national Verifier and provides customer service to consumers through the Lifeline Support Center.
Is Lifeline the same as ACP?
No. Lifeline is a permanent program of the FCC that provides affordable access to essential communications services, such as broadband Internet access. ACP is a new program designed to make broadband more affordable for struggling households. You can combine Lifeline and ACP benefits and apply them to the same service plan or different service plans.
Which Lifeline provider gives free phones?
You can receive a free phone such as iPhone 6S, iPhone 7, Galaxy S8, LG G7 Thin Q, and more if you apply for the government benefit program at AirTalk Wireless. Don’t worry, it’s Lifeline free phones without no contracts, no monthly bills, and no credit checks.
In conclusion, the Lifeline program is a federal program that lowers the monthly cost of phone or internet service, and it’s available to individuals that meet the program’s eligibility requirements. So, if you’re looking for a way to save money on your phone bill, be sure to check out the Lifeline benefit and apply for Lifeline now!