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Lifeline support is a Federal program that provides a discount making basic telephone service more affordable to low-income families. As a consumer, you apply for Lifeline through your local home phone or cellular phone service provider. The provider is then reimbursed through the Low Income Program of the Universal Service Fund.

Federal rules allow you to receive a Lifeline discount on one home telephone OR one wireless phone. A household cannot receive the Lifeline benefit on more than one phone.

Qualification for Lifeline Support

To qualify for support, as of June 1, 2012:

  • A Member of your household must receive benefits from one of seven federal assistance programs or, household income must be at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
  • No member of your household can already be receiving Lifeline benefits
  • You must complete and sign a certification of eligility
  • You must provide proof of eligibility (must prove that you are enrolled in one of the qualifying programs by submitting a copy of an award letter or statement of benefits, or letter of participation, or any other official document or, must provide proof of income if qualifying based on household income.)

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

Important Lifeline Rules

  • Lifeline is a federal benefit and willfully making false statements to obtain the benefit can result in fines, imprisonment, de-enrollment or being barred from the program.
  • Only one Lifeline service (wire line or wireless) is available per household.
  • For the purpose of the Lifeline program, a "household" is defined as an individual or group of individuals who live together at the same address and share income and expenses.
  • A household is NOT permitted to receive Lifeline benefits from multiple providers.
  • 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.
  • Lifeline is a non-transferable benefit. The subscriber may not transfer his or her benefit to any other person.