Lifeline typically provides up to a $9.25 monthly discount on service for eligible low-income subscribers. Subscribers may receive a Lifeline discount on either a wireline or a wireless service, but they may not receive a discount on both services at the same time. Lifeline also supports broadband Internet access service and broadband-voice bundles. Qualifying customers will receive credit on their bill each month. If the qualifying low-income consumer voluntarily elects toll-blocking while initiating Lifeline service, a deposit is not required. FCC rules prohibit more than one Lifeline service per household. Furthermore, Lifeline is non-transferable and customers willfully making false statements in order to obtain the benefit can be punished by fine or imprisonment or can be barred from the program.
Lifeline is a federal program and is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). USAC is responsible for data collection and maintenance, support calculation, disbursements, and assisting consumers with Lifeline eligibility and enrollment for the program. USAC’s website (https://www.usac.org) provides additional information regarding the program, including program requirements.
To participate in the Lifeline program, consumers must either have an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participate in certain federal or state assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or Medicaid. You can see if you are eligible by reviewing the information available at https://www.lifelinesupport.org/ (see “Do I Qualify?”).
To apply for Lifeline, a consumer must use the National Verifier application system at https://nationalverifier.servicenowservices.com/lifeline. The National Verifier is a centralized system established by the FCC and operated by USAC that verifies Lifeline applicants’ eligibility and recertifies subscriber eligibility annually.
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