How to qualify for Lifeline

The current economic times in which we live are difficult to say the least. Nearly 100 million Americans, according to the latest census data, are living in poverty or, what has been termed, "near poverty". Food, utility, and housing costs are rising and show no sign of stopping.

Having a telephone, cellular or land line is no longer considered a luxury, but in this day and age it is an essential resource for daily living. One needs a telephone in this day and age not only to stay in contact with friends, relatives, employers, as well as local, state government assistance programs not including private charitable agencies. In this day and age, having a reliable, affordable point of contact with these vital sources of aid is imperative.

What is the background of the program?

Lifeline is a program from the federal government run by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) with assistance from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) that was created to help needy individuals and families with low-cost land line or wireless telephones. These government agencies receive their funding for this program from the federal Universal Service Fund (USF).

Who does the program help?

The Lifeline program helps needy families with the costs of a home or wireless telephone. If your household income is less than 135% of the Feredal Poverty Level (FPL), or you, or one of your family members, is receiving assistance from the Federal or State government such as Food Stamps, Medicaid or SSI, you qualify!

What does the program provide?

For those who qualify, the Lifeline program provides discount telephone service to needy families. This program will provide assistance with one land line (home telephone) per household or one wireless (cell, mobile) phone. For those individuals who qualify for the program please bear in mind that due to Federal regulations only one discounted service, i.e. land line (home telephone) or wireless (cell, mobile) is available per household. For those who choose to go with a traditional land line home telephone, Link Up, a program that works with Lifeline, will provide a one-time discount of up to $30.00 on the installation of your Lifeline telephone.

How can you qualify?

If you, or members in your household are, receiving the following benefits you automatically qualify for the Lifeline program. Those interested in the program must have an income of less than 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. (For example in the 48 Contiguous States and D.C the income level is $22,350 per year for a family of four.)

  • Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Medicaid,
  • Supplemental Security Income - commonly known as SSI
  • Health Benefit Coverage under Child Health Insurance Plan (CHIP)
  • The National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Program.
  • Low-Income Energy Assistance Program – LIHEAP
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
  • If you are a low-income Eligible Resident of Tribal Lands
  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families - TANF

Enrollment forms must be completed and sent to the Public Utility Commission in your state. Forms are available from your local Health and Human Services Commission office locations. You may know of these offices as the "Food Stamp Office" or the "Medicaid Office". They offer the same services and completing the forms will be provided upon request.

Lifeline is an outstanding program
that's now helping 8 million lower income Americans in 37 states, Washington, DC & Puerto Rico, but we won't be satisfied until it's available for those who need it in every state. - Mark Henry

"I don't really feel having a telephone in your household these days is a luxury, it's really a necessity." - Cheryl is not affiliated with the United States Government and is a privately operated web site.