UPDATE: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced upcoming changes to the Lifeline program.
- Changes are expected to be introduced as early as December 1, 2016.
- Some of the changes could affect customer eligibility.
- The OUCC will be following developments and posting updates to this page as they become available.
Lifeline is a federally funded program that helps income-eligible consumers afford local telephone service. Local telephone companies administer the program. It provides a monthly discount on basic telephone services for eligible customers.
Lifeline applications must be submitted directly to your local phone company.
Are you eligible?
There are two ways to qualify:
1. Have a household income at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines, or.
2. Be enrolled in one or more of the following programs:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
- Food Stamps
- National School Free Lunch Program (free lunches only)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance or Section 8
Things to know:
- To enroll, you must send an application directly to the telephone company. Before applying, call the company to make sure you are mailing the application to the appropriate address.
- When applying, you must include a copy of a document showing proof of income or proof of participation in one of the qualifying programs.
- Only one Lifeline discount is available per household. It may be applied to either a landline or wireless telephone, but not both.
- If your household receives more than one Lifeline discount, you must select a single provider immediately. Penalties may apply if you don't.
- Telephone service must be listed in your name. You cannot be listed as a dependent on another person’s tax return.
- All Lifeline subscribers must re-certify eligibility each year. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has required this since 2012.
Efforts to combat fraud, waste and abuse in the Lifeline program have been underway at the state and federal levels for some time. If you are aware of fraud in the program, please contact the FCC toll-free at 1-855-4LL-TIPS (or 1-855-455-8477) or at email@example.com.
How to apply
Applications are available from participating telephone companies or online from the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor.
Read the application carefully and contact the phone company with any questions. Return the completed application directly to the phone company.
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) represents Indiana consumer interests before state and federal bodies that regulate utilities. As a state agency, the OUCC’s mission is to represent all Indiana consumers to ensure quality, reliable utility services at the most reasonable prices possible through dedicated advocacy, consumer education, and creative problem solving.
Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South
Indianapolis, IN 46204