The federal government helps out a lot of qualifying families and individuals that need assistance. A particular option that people do not normally think about is the Lifeline Program. Many people cannot afford their phone and internet services. If this applies to you, then you should think about this program when you are working on your finances. This article will teach you about the Lifeline Program and the benefits that come with it.
The Lifeline Program Works
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designed this program to help people with different internet and phone service costs. Benefits from the Lifeline Program means getting a monthly discount on different services that could reach up to $9.25. If you and your family live on tribal lands, then the monthly discount could amount to $34.25 at most. These discounts can be applied to wireline or wireless services.
You need to remember that you can receive a discount on only one service. That means you cannot apply the discount on different services at the same time. The Lifeline Program covers internet service expenses, along with relief on broadband internet services and broadband-voice bundles. It is also worth noting that only one benefit from the program can apply to each household.
What are Tribal Land Lifeline Benefits?
When it comes to Tribal Land Lifeline, qualifying recipients can receive an additional one-time discount that could reach up to $100. This discount comes from Tribal Lands Link Up. If the fee for services is more than $200, then there are financing opportunities available from Tribal Lands Link Up. One of these opportunities is a payment plan without interest that could last for a year. Not all carriers allow Tribal Lands Link Up, which is why you should choose the carrier carefully!
Understanding the Lifeline Program
The FCC designed the Lifeline Program, but the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) is in charge of the program’s management and administration. This agency supports consumers throughout the application process. Which includes eligibility conditions and maintaining their benefits throughout the recertification process. Also, you can use the USAC to find free information on the Lifeline Program.
If you want to receive benefits from the program, you should meet certain eligibility requirements to be able to qualify. One of the requirements is that you must have an income that is at or lower than 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Also, you can benefit from the program if you already receive benefits from a qualifying federal assistance program. These federal programs that automatically make you eligible are:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
- Certain Tribal Programs
Lifeline Program Guidelines
If you participate in the Lifeline Program, there are guidelines that you need to stick to. These include:
- Proving that you qualify
- Only using one Lifeline Service for each eligible household
- Going through the recertification process to remain eligible
Qualifying for Lifeline Benefits
How Does Applying Work?
When it comes to applying for this program, you should use the National Verifier application system, which is created by the FCC. The FCC uses this system to verify the applicant’s current situation and to decide whether they are eligible or not. As mentioned above, the USAC runs the program, but it also operates the National Verifier system. The system can be used by both new and existing candidates and consumers for the application and recertification process.
The best thing about the Lifeline Program is that there are different ways to apply. You can apply directly from the online portal, the National Verifier. For more information about applying, you can find out online how to use it. Additionally, you can contact the Lifeline Support Center toll-free number at 1-800-234-9473 or send an email to LifelineSupport@usac.org.
The Lifeline Application Needs Certain Documents
It is possible that you will need to present documents to verify that you qualify. These documents will show the program your current situation and that you meet the eligibility requirements. Some of these documents include:
- Documents that show you participate in a qualifying program, which includes official documents, benefits statement, and notice letter of participation.
- Forms to verify your income (tax returns from the previous year, paycheck stubs, income statement from your employer, a divorce decree, a child support award, and so on).
If you are unable to show that you qualify, then you might not benefit from the Lifeline Program.
Do You Always Need to Confirm That You Qualify?
The simple answer is yes! You will need to verify that you qualify for the program during the application process. After that, you should offer evidence that you qualify each year during the recertification process. If you do not meet eligibility requirements, then you might not be able to get benefits from the program anymore. You could lose your eligibility in the case that:
- You have an increase in your income, which leads to your ineligibility for the income requirement
- Another person in your home or family receives Lifeline benefits
- You are no longer enrolled with a federal assistance program
If you find out that you do not qualify anymore for the program, then you should dis-enroll from the program as soon as possible. You might face penalties if you do not dis-enroll right away.
If You Have a Disability and Need Help Applying, Then What Can You Do?
There are two ways to contact the program: through the Lifeline Support Center toll-free number at 1-800-234-9473, or an email to LifelineSupport@usac.org. The Support Center can offer more information and assistance with your Lifeline benefits. Also, there is a Disability Rights office that can help you out, thanks to the FCC. If you want to contact the Disability Rights office, then you can do so through different means. You can call them at 202-418-2517 for a voice call, at 844-432-2275 for a video call, or by email at DRO@fcc.gov.
It might not seem like it can help you out, but the Lifeline Program can save you a lot of money over time. You can get a discount from the program that can help your finances and help your life in different ways. The Lifeline Program can offer a monthly discount of up to $9.25 for different services. Those that are currently staying on tribal lands can get a monthly discount of up to $34.25. Those that are eligible for the Tribal Land Lifeline Program have the chance to get an extra one-time discount that is up to $100. To know more about the Lifeline Program, you can go to the National Verifier online portal or contact the Lifeline Support Center toll-free number at 1-800-234-9473.