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Qualification for Lifeline Support for Affordable Communications

by: foodsupport  |  Related: Cheapest Cell Phone Coverage


Telephone service plays a vital role in progressive development of economic opportunities and personal living in United States. It is still one of the best components of business communication among companies and even every household. In the study of RAND Corporation, it shows that there are 20% of American household who says that fixed telephone is important. Thus, mobile telephones are dominant in the social media and millennial era. Based on the study, there is at least one mobile telephone for about 90% of American Household. However, these telephone services come with a cost.

Low-income earners still struggle to pay their telephone services while securing to pay all the household commodities including the rental, foods and even mortgage. Hence, the Federal Communication Commission’s Universal Service Fund offers a government benefit program to get help paying for the Telephone Service.

What is Lifeline grant program?

Lifeline is a benefit federal program under the FCC’s program that ensures that communication services particularly the Telephone services are affordable for low-income consumers. By this Lifeline program, it can aid to get a discounted landline or wireless phone services. This program was established on 1985 with an objective to gives assurance to qualified consumers to afford the phone services while providing opportunities and security.

Whereas, it was 1996 that the congress strengthened and supported the FCC Lifeline program through the Telecommunication Act of 1996, requiring that all the telephone services and advanced communication services must be available for low-income consumers across the United States. While on March 2016, FCC approved the modernization of Lifeline program for an advanced communication services by starting a support for broadband services as mandated to the rules to modernize the Lifeline. Through this new innovation, Lifeline subscribers have an opportunity to purchase a discounted broadband from the participating broadband providers in the country.

How Lifeline Works?

Lifeline provides a discount on the monthly service of telephone communication amounting $9.25 per month for eligible low-income consumers. These qualified Lifeline Subscribers may avail a discount on either a wireline or a wireless communication services. Take note that Lifeline grant program doesn’t give discounts for both services at the same time. Thus, FCC ruled that there should be One Lifeline service in a household. On the FCC Life Modernization, the discounts will be apply to stand-alone broadband, bundled voice-broadband packages which you may choose between fixed or mobile and stand alone voice services. By this modern services, FCC make it sure that low-income consumers can avail an access to any economic opportunities and education.

How to Qualify for Lifeline program?

Based on your Income

On the rules on applying for Lifeline, low-income subscribers’ income must have either at or below 135%. This is based on the Federal poverty guidelines that are based on the individual household size and state. You must show to the Lifeline administration the poof of your annual income like the State, federal, and tribal tax return, the current income statement from your employer or your paycheck, the SS statements of benefits, the VA Statement of Benefits, the Unemployment or Workers’ Compensation Statement of Benefits, the Federal or tribal notice letter of participation in General Assistance and the Divorce decree, child support award or other official documents containing your income information.

Federal Assistance Program beneficiary

If you are beneficiary on any federal assistance or someone from your household, you may get a Lifeline. These federal assistance programs include:

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Medicaid
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
Veterans Pension and Survivor Benefit
Tribal program

Important Note: based on the recent rules of FCC as of December 2, 2016, federal assistance programs such as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or the NSLP Free Lunch Program can no longer use to prove your eligibility avail Lifeline.

Tribal Lifeline

Tribal lifeline also offers to any individuals who live in tribal lands and have an opportunity to receive up to $25 off from your monthly bill in addition the standard lifeline discount amount. You can avail the program if you are participants or any members of the household from any Tribal Assistance Programs that include:

Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
Head Start (for household who are qualified to the income standard)
Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.

Qualify through your Child or Dependent
You can avail the Lifeline program if your child or dependent are beneficiary in any federal assistance programs that are listed above.

Limit: One Per household
FCC only allowed one Lifeline Discounts for phone or internet services but not both. There should be one Lifeline per household.

How to apply for Lifeline?
Eligible customers can receive a Lifeline discount completing all the four steps below:
Choose your Company
Find a communication company services that offers Lifeline
Ask you Company for an Application

First and last name
Address
Date of Birth
Last 4 digits of your SSnumber or TIN

You must also show at least one of following

Unexpired ID such as a Driver’s license
Prior year’s tax return
Social Security card
Other documents that prove your identity

Prove your eligibility

Applicants must prove their Life Eligibility by:
Show a card or award letter proving your participation in on above listed Federal Assistance program that are qualified for Lifeline.
Show a pay stub or Tax return proving your income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines.

Enrollment

Your company will now process your application and may ask for further information and forms. If the application is approved, you will receive your Lifeline discount toward your bill.

You may visit the Lifeline Eligibility Pre-Screening Tool on the Universal Service Administrative website at lifelinesupport.org for more information about the process of the application.

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