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Lifeline Qualifications


The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), on February 6, 2012, released its Lifeline Reform Order (FCC 12-11), making significant changes to the program. The order established a uniform floor of eligibility requirements, while allowing individial states to establish more permissive eligibility criteria.

If you are currently enrolled in one or more of the baseline programs listed below, you qualify for Lifeline benefits. However, your state may have assistance programs not listed below that could also qualify you. To receive lifeline benefits based on program eligility, you will be required to provide proof of participation in that program.


The baseline qualifying programs include:
  • Veteran’s Pension or Survivor’s Pension Benefit
  • Fed'l Public Housing (Section 8 assistance)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)


Additionally, you may be eligible if your household* income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (see table below). To qualify based on income, you will be required to provide current documentation that shows your household* income.


2017 Federal Poverty Guide - 135%

# in Household Contiguous 48
/ DC
1 $16,281
2 $21,924
3 $27,567
4 $33,210
5 $38,853
6 $44,496
7 $50,139
8 $55,782
Each Add't Person $5,643

Source: Federal Register


*Household is defined as "any individual or group of individuals who are living together at the same address as one economic unit".
Economic unit is defined as "all adult individuals contributing to and sharing in the income and expenses of a household".



Things you should know about Lifeline

  • Lifeline is a Federal Benefit
  • Lifeline service is available for only ONE line per household*, wireless or wire line.
  • A household* can not receive Lifeline benefits from more than one provider.
  • Violation of the one-per-household limitation constitutes a violation of the commission's rules and will result in the subscriber's de-enrollment from the program and potentially prosecution by the United States Government.
  • Providing false or fraudulent information to receive Lifeline benefits is punishable by law.

More information about Lifeline


Visit the USAC website for more details about the Lifeline program.


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