If you are a low-income household, you may qualify for Lifeline’s discounted telephone service. This program is available in every state and provides a monthly subsidy that can be applied toward a home phone, mobile phone, broadband internet, or bundled services.
Switch to a Different Plan
If you’re using Lifeline, you can change phone service providers once per year. However, there are some rules you need to follow. First, you must notify your old provider that you want to switch providers. Next, you need to contact a new company that offers Lifeline and ask them to transfer your benefits.
This is usually done by filling out a form. Sometimes, the new provider may need proof that you are eligible for the program. This can be a letter, a card, or some other documentation. Once you’ve selected like Assist Wireless as your new service provider, they will process your application and start offering services to you.
They will also contact your previous service provider to let them know they’ve started working with you. Your old service provider will then close your account and stop billing you.
Remember that you need to recertify your eligibility for the program once a year. This is done by filling out a form that you get from USAC (the organization that manages the program). In some states, you may be updated in the national database automatically. In others, you’ll receive a recertification form in the mail. Submit the form within 60 days to ensure your phone and data plan benefits are maintained.
Look for a Better Price
A free or discounted telephone plan is a wonderful tool for income-eligible households, but you should be aware that many phone companies add fees to their service plans. Check the fine print and ask about other costs before deciding which phone or internet provider you will use. The Lifeline program, or NTAP or National Telephone Assistance Program, is available to qualifying low-income residents of the United States.
It provides a monthly discount on one home landline, wireless telephone, or bundled services. The discount is usually a credit on your telephone bill or as free minutes. Some states restrict the number of phones and bundled services enrolled in Lifeline.
There are several ways to qualify for the Lifeline program, which can be found on the website of each state’s telecommunications agency. Some of the programs that can qualify you include Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, TANF welfare, HEAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Section 8 Assistance, SSI, Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit, or a program administered by a federally recognized Tribal government.
You must provide proof of enrollment in one of these programs when applying for Lifeline. In addition, a household may only have one Lifeline phone service per address.
Switch to a Different Carrier
If you are enrolled in Lifeline and feel unhappy with your current service provider or are looking for more talk and text minutes, it is within your rights to change providers. You must provide your new provider with crucial information verifying your identity, including the last four digits of your social security number, full name, address, date of birth, and verbal or written consent to switch services. Your new service provider will also need to see a card or letter from your previous provider indicating that you have been using a Lifeline phone for 60 days.
If your new provider isn’t a participant in the program, they will have to sign you up as a new subscriber and enroll you in Lifeline. You’ll need to fill out a form that confirms your eligibility and explains the benefits of the Lifeline program. This includes a list of all eligible services and the monthly discount available.
You can apply for Lifeline on the provider’s website or at your local phone company, community action agency, or public assistance office. Eligible households can get a discount on telephone service, broadband Internet access service, or voice-broadband bundled service from participating Lifeline service providers.
One phone or broadband Internet service discount is allowed per household. Eligibility is determined by the federal poverty guidelines or a state’s income rules. It depends on whether you or someone in your household receives SNAP, Apple Health (Medicaid), or other federal benefits programs.
Cut Out the Stuff You Don’t Use
The Lifeline program provides a monthly discount on telephone service, including landline and wireless services. The discount is available to individuals who participate in government assistance programs such as Medicaid, Food Stamps, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Federal Public Housing Assistance or whose household income meets minimum poverty guidelines. The program also offers a bill credit and waiver of the federal subscriber line charge on landline service, free voice minutes, and mobile data usage on wireless services.
The program is administered by Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) in each state, territory, commonwealth, and Tribal land. The Federal Communications Commission funds it and provides eligible low-income households access to telecommunications services. USAC is responsible for recertifying subscribers, determining consumer eligibility, and managing the Lifeline Support Center.
To receive your Lifeline phone discount, you must be recertified yearly and meet the basic qualifications. Only one Lifeline service is allowed per household and can only be used on a landline or a wireless phone. You must also use your service at least once every 30 days to keep it active, or you could lose it. If you aren’t using your service, consider reducing your plan to the minimum service level necessary to maintain your benefits.