Lifeline Telephone Assistance
In addition to the Lifeline program, qualifying consumers may receive monthly discounts through the federally administered Affordable Connectivity Program. More information is available on the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC's) website.
These programs are administered at the federal government level and are not regulated at the state level. The OUCC shares information on these programs for educational purposes.
Lifeline is a federally funded program providing a monthly discount on telecommunications services for eligible consumers.
Consumers may apply online at https://nationalverifier.servicenowservices.com/lifeline or by downloading and completing the form at https://www.usac.org/wp-content/uploads/lifeline/documents/nv/csv/LI_Application_NVstates.pdf.
- The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) oversees the Lifeline program.
- Completed application forms must be mailed to the USAC Lifeline Support Center at the address on the form's first page.
- The OUCC cannot process applications or determine eligibility.
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)
- Food Stamps
- Federal Public Housing Assistance or Section 8
- Veterans Pensions and Survivors Benefit Programs
Enhanced Lifeline benefits are available for consumers who live on tribal lands.
Things to know:
- To enroll, you must apply on line or mail the application directly to the USAC Lifeline Support Center.
- 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.
- USAC's website includes a search tool for finding local Lifeline service providers.
- All Lifeline subscribers must re-certify eligibility each year. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has required this annual recertification since 2012.
A 2016 FCC order made a number of changes to Lifeline:
- Since December 2016, participating customers have been able to apply the monthly $9.25 Lifeline discount to either wireless phone service, landline phone service, broadband, or a combination of phone and broadband services.
- In December 2019, the Lifeline discount for telephone service (both landline and wireless) will drop to $7.25. The discount will then decrease to $5.25 in December 2020.
- Starting in December 2022, consumers will be able to apply the $9.25 Lifeline discount to broadband (high-speed internet) services but not to telephone services.
- The deadline was set for December 2021, but the FCC extended it by one year in a November 2021 order.
- An exception: The $5.25 telephone reimbursement will continue in a limited number of areas where only one Lifeline provider exists.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, consumers are encouraged to visit the FCC and Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) websites.