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Apply for a discounted communications service through the Lifeline Program

Lifeline is a government benefit program that provides a monthly discount on one communications service from a certified Lifeline service provider.

Department of Telecommunications and Cable

The Details of Apply for a discounted communications service through the Lifeline Program

What you need for Apply for a discounted communications service through the Lifeline Program

  1. Choose a Lifeline service provider. Click here to find a Lifeline service provider in your area.  Before you start the application process, you may wish to contact each available provider to learn more about their service offerings in order to determine which service will meet your household’s needs.
  2. Obtain an application from the service provider.   You may be able to complete a provider’s application process online, by telephone, or by mail.  You will need the following information to apply: First and Last Name; Residential Address (PO Box is not allowed, but may be provided as a separate mailing address); Date of Birth; and Last 4 digits of your Social Security Number.

  3. Submit your proof of eligibility documentation with your completed application to the service provider.  You will be required to submit an official document that corresponds with the eligibility criteria you selected.  Click here for a list of acceptable qualifying documents to prove program participation. Click here for an acceptable list of documents that prove income eligibility.  Be sure to submit a copy of the document and not the original.

Federal rules require that Lifeline service providers securely retain copies of your information and documentation received during program enrollment for dispute resolution purposes as long as your Lifeline benefit is active, but for no less than the three full preceding calendar years.

 

How to apply Apply for a discounted communications service through the Lifeline Program

The following providers offer home phone service:

The following providers offer wireless phone service*:

* These providers currently offer internet access by means of a wireless data plan or a bundled package of wireless phone service and a data plan.

The following providers offer home phone service:

  • Verizon can be reached at 1-800-837-4966
  • OTELCO (formerly Granby Telephone Company) can be reached at 1-866-746-3873
  • Magna5 (formerly Richmond Telephone Company) can be reached at 1-866-240-1912
  • Consolidated Communications (formerly Taconic Telephone) can be reached at 1-866-984-2001

The following providers offer wireless phone service*:

  • Assurance Wireless can be reached at 1-888-898-4888
  • SafeLink Wireless can be reached at 1-800-723-3546
  • StandUP Wireless can be reached at 1-800-544-4441

* These providers currently offer internet access by means of a wireless data plan or a bundled package of wireless phone service and a data plan.

Next steps for Apply for a discounted communications service through the Lifeline Program

Prepare for Annual Eligibility Recertification

Each year you must certify that you are still eligible to receive the Lifeline Program benefit and that no one else in your household is receiving a Lifeline Program benefit.

Typically by the anniversary date of your enrollment in the Lifeline Program with your provider, you will be contacted by your Lifeline provider or the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) with instructions on how to complete the recertification process.  You must respond to this request within 60 days.

If you do not complete this recertification process, you will lose your Lifeline benefit.  This means your monthly bill may increase, or the services you normally receive for free each month will not be provided.

If your Lifeline provider determines that you are no longer eligible for the Lifeline benefit, it will notify you of such and your Lifeline service will be terminated in 30 days, unless you provide proof of eligibility.  

If you become ineligible for the Lifeline benefit at any time, you must contact your Lifeline provider within 30 days to de-enroll from the program or you may be subject to penalties.

More info for Apply for a discounted communications service through the Lifeline Program

  • Only one individual in a household may receive the Lifeline benefit.  Federal law limits the Lifeline benefit to one service per household.

  • Prior to submitting a Lifeline application to a service provider, be sure all questions are completed and answers are legible.  Provide a photocopy of your proof of eligibility document(s) and keep a copy of the completed application.

  • Enrolling in the Lifeline Program does not protect you from being disconnected if you fail to pay your monthly bill.

  • Depending on your location, some wireless carriers may provide a better signal than others.  Contact each available Lifeline provider to find out which one provides the most coverage in your area prior to selecting a provider.

  • If you receive free service through Lifeline, you must use your Lifeline service once every 30 days or you will be de-enrolled from the program.  For Lifeline wireless subscribers, sending a text message qualifies as usage of service.

  • Effective March 19, 2018, the Lifeline Program's benefit port freeze rule was eliminated. The rule first went into effect on December 2, 2016, and it required Lifeline subscribers to remain with their service provider for at least 60 days (for voice service) or 12 months (for broadband service) after initiating service to continue receiving the Lifeline benefit.

  • If you enrolled in the Lifeline Program prior to December 2, 2016, and you are interested in switching your Lifeline service to one that includes a wireless data plan, you may be required to purchase your own smartphone that is compatible with the Lifeline provider's network.  Check with your provider for additional details.

  • The Lifeline benefit does not cover the cost of the replacement of a lost, broken or stolen mobile device.  Mobile device replacements are determined by a Lifeline provider's own policy.

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