The Lifeline program is federally funded and lowers monthly phone and internet service costs for eligible low-income consumers. It’s available to people in every state, commonwealth, territory, and Tribal land.
The Universal Service Administrative Company is in charge of running the program. It includes a National Eligibility Verifier, which makes independent subscriber eligibility determinations.
It’s Administered By The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC)
The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) administers the Lifeline program. This independent nonprofit organization helps $10 billion annually in funds collected from telecommunications providers as part of the Federal Communications Commission’s universal service fund. USAC carries out this mission through program administration, auditing, outreach, and ensuring that money goes to the right places at the right time.
The program has been around for a while. But it still stands out as the most comprehensive and best-in-class telecommunications assistance program available to low-income consumers. It offers eligible customers free mobile phone service through the Federal LifeLine assistance program.
USAC has assembled a group of specialists to assist you in navigating the Lifeline eligibility verification and enrollment maze so that you can make the most of the program. The Lifeline program is a big deal to consumers, especially those living in areas that lack high-speed internet and cable TV. Still, it’s also a big responsibility for the telecommunications industry. The Lifeline program is a good way for telecommunications companies to reach more low-income consumers and bolster their bottom lines. You can find out more about the Lifeline program on the USAC website. Or you can talk to a live person at your local phone company or visit your state’s Lifeline webpage for more information on the program.
The Program’s Origins
The Lifeline program was established in 1984 by the Federal Communications Commission to provide a discounted telephone service to low-income Americans. With it, people can reach emergency services, stay in touch with their loved ones or even get an employment opportunity.
The program was created by gerontologist Andrew Dibner and his sociologist wife, Susan, who wanted to develop a system to help elderly individuals when they suffered a medical emergency. They first conceived of a personal emergency response system (PRS) allowing someone to call for help alone or in an unfamiliar place.
Lifeline Systems became a large, profitable company in the early 1980s. The growth was fueled by the introduction of several new monitoring devices and equipment leasing programs and by the emergence of insurers willing to accept PRS as a viable means of helping older adults maintain their independence.
Despite its success, Lifeline had its share of problems. In the early years, the company spent a lot of money on development and testing. It included developing a bedside arrhythmia monitor to detect abnormal heartbeats, a pulse monitor and a dietary management system.
With about 70% of the market by the late 1980s, the company had established itself in the PRS market. The company’s success allowed it to reorganize and become more aggressive in its marketing efforts, which helped increase revenues. Eventually, the company became profitable, and in 1983, it went public at $13 a share.
It’s Available in Every State
Low-income consumers have been able to access telecommunications services thanks to the Lifeline program since 1985 in every state, territory, commonwealth, and tribal land. The program provides monthly discounts on ONE telephone service (wireline or wireless) for eligible consumers.
Lifeline has helped millions of Americans stay connected to family and friends, health care, jobs, schools and 911 emergency services. The program is a non-transferrable benefit for a home landline, wireless phone, stand-alone broadband, or bundled voice-broadband package.
In 2016, under former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, he reformed the Lifeline program to make it easier for low-income people to transfer subsidies into broadband packages. The FCC also announced additional reforms aimed at combating fraud in the program.
To qualify for Lifeline, you must need telecommunications assistance and have proof of low income. You may use your government-issued Social Security card, pay stubs or other documents to prove you are eligible for the program.
You can apply for the Lifeline program online or through a local social service agency. Once approved, your Lifeline discount will be applied to your cell phone bill, and if you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the Lifeline benefit is included in your check.
It’s a Non-Transferable Benefit
The Lifeline program has been around for a long time, and it helps thousands of low-income consumers connect to the nation’s communications networks. It can help you find jobs, access health care services, stay connected to family and friends, and call for help in an emergency.
The program is a federal benefit that provides discounts on ONE telephone service (wireline or wireless) for eligible low-income consumers. It’s a non-transferable benefit available in every state, territory, commonwealth, and Tribal land.
To receive the discount, you must prove that your income is at or below the federal poverty guidelines. It would be best if you also recertified your eligibility annually.
You can ask USAC or your state’s government if you’re still determining if you’re eligible for Lifeline. You can also call your local phone or internet company and ask them to apply the discount to their service.
The Lifeline program is a government benefit that has been around for over 25 years, and it helps thousands of low-income households connect to the nation’s communications networks. In addition to discounts on ONE telephone service, it helps low-income consumers access health care services and get the help they need in an emergency.