The Lifeline Program is a government assistance program that aims to make communication services more affordable for low-income individuals and families.
It provides discounted phone service and broadband internet access to eligible participants, ensuring they have access to essential communication tools.
- What is the Lifeline Program?
- Benefits of the Lifeline Program
- Who is Eligible for the Lifeline Phone Program?
- How the Lifeline Program Works
- How to Apply for the Lifeline Program
- What documentation will I need to apply?
- Lifeline Program Renewal Process
- Lifeline Phone Program Providers
- Who can I contact with questions or concerns?
What is the Lifeline Program?
The Lifeline is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Program that provides eligible individuals and families with a discount on their monthly phone service or internet bill.
By making these services more affordable, the Lifeline Program aims to promote equality and bridge the affordability gap, ensuring that everyone has access to essential communication services.
The Lifeline program is separate from the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) program that helps low-income households pay for internet service and connected devices.
Benefits of the Lifeline Program
- Eligible consumers may receive up to $9.25 off their phone or internet service.
- $34.25 per month discount if the household is on qualifying tribal lands.
- The Federal Lifeline program is limited to one benefit per household.
Who is Eligible for the Lifeline Phone Program?
Consumers qualify for Lifeline Program through income or through participation in a Lifeline-qualifying program. Only one Lifeline benefit is allowed per household.
Individuals can be eligible for the Lifeline phone program if their total household income is equal to or less than 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
The table below reflects 135% of the 2023 Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG).
|Persons in Family||48 States||Alaska||Hawaii|
Consumers may be eligible for the federal Lifeline discount program if they participate in a qualifying program below:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which used to be called Food Stamp
- Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Tribal TANF
- Tribal Head Start (income based)
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
One per Household
In the Lifeline assistance program, a household refers to people who live together at the same address and share both income and expenses. It's important to note that only one Lifeline benefit is permitted per household.
Whenever multiple people at the same residential address receive Lifeline-supported service or when a new individual applies for service at an address where a Lifeline benefit is already received, it is necessary to fill out a Lifeline Household Worksheet.
How the Lifeline Program Works
Here is how the Lifeline Program works:
- The government distributes the money to participating providers.
- Participating providers offer discounted phone and internet service to eligible households.
- Eligible households apply for the Lifeline Program through service provider.
- The FCC verifies the eligibility of applicants.
- The FCC approves or denies applications.
- Approved applicants receive a Lifeline discount on their phone or internet bill.
How to Apply for the Lifeline Program
Check if You Qualify
First, See if your household fits into any eligible categories before you apply for wireless service.
Check if someone else at your address gets Lifeline Program
Use this Lifeline Household worksheet if someone else at your address gets the Lifeline Program benefit.
The answers to these questions will help you find out if there is more than one household at your address.
Lifeline Phone Program Application
You can apply online, by mail, or by contacting your current internet company.Apply Now
Are you already enrolled in ACP Program? You don't need to apply again.
Find a Company Near You
Use our search tool to find a company that offers Lifeline discounts
Here is a video with step by step guide on how to apply for LifeLine Program.
What documentation will I need to apply?
If the Lifeline National Verifier is not able to prove that you qualify with only the information you give, you may have to show official documents as proof.
- Documentation that verifies your identity (birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, green card, e.g.)
- Document that verifies your address (utility bill, lease statement, W-2, e.g.)
- If you qualify through your income you will need to provide a document that shows that your annual income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
- If you participate in qualifying programs, provide a letter or official document as proof.
- If you are an emancipated minor, you must include court documents or certificate of emancipation.
Lifeline Program Renewal Process
To keep your Lifeline discount, you must renew your eligibility every year. You can renew your eligibility online, by mail, or in person at a participating provider.
When you renew your eligibility, you will need to provide the same information that you provided when you first applied for the lifeline program free cell phone. This information may include your name, address, income, and household size.
If you are approved for renewal, you will continue to receive the Lifeline discount on your phone or internet bill.
Lifeline Phone Program Providers
- Charter Communications
- Google Fiber
- Cox Communications
- Consolidated Communication
Check Out full list Lifeline Phone Program Provider
Who can I contact with questions or concerns?
Contact Information :
If you have questions about your application, or would like an application mailed to you, contact Lifeline
- Phone: (800) 234-9473 (24 x 7)
- Email: LifelineSupport@usac.org
- Website: fcc.gov/lifeline-consumers
- Facebook: facebook.com/lifelineprogram
- Twitter: twitter.com/FCC
Lifeline Support Center
PO Box 9100, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773
Hours Of Operations :
- Sunday: Closed
- Monday: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
- Tuesday: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
- Wednesday: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
- Thursday: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
- Friday: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
- Saturday: Closed
FAQ(Frequently Asked Questions)
1. What happens if my income changes after I am approved for the Lifeline Program?
If your income changes after being approved for the federal Lifeline Program, it's essential to notify the program administrator or your service provider. Depending on the specific guidelines in your state, your continued eligibility for the program may be reassessed.
2. Can I apply for the Lifeline Program if I live in a nursing home or assisted living facility?
Yes, residents of nursing homes or assisted living facilities may be eligible for the Lifeline Program. The eligibility criteria take into account the income of the individual or household, regardless of their living arrangement.
3. Can I switch service providers while enrolled in the Lifeline Program?
Yes, you have the freedom to switch service providers while enrolled in the Lifeline Program. If you decide to change your service provider, you should inform your current provider and follow the necessary procedures to switch.
4. Can I use my Lifeline phone service for international calls?
The Lifeline Program typically covers only domestic calls within the United States. International calls are not included in the basic service provided through the program.
5. Is the Lifeline Program available in all states?
Yes, the Lifeline Program is available in all states of the United States, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
6. Can I transfer my Lifeline Program benefit to another person?
No, you cannot transfer your Lifeline benefit program to another person. The Lifeline Program is designed to provide communication assistance to eligible individuals based on their own needs and circumstances. The benefit is tied to the eligible participant and cannot be transferred or assigned to another individual.
7. Do I receive the money directly each month?
No, the Lifeline Phone Program provides a monthly discount on internet service per eligible household directly to the participating broadband service provider.
8. Can I have a Lifeline Program benefit if I already have a phone or internet service?
Yes, you can have a Lifeline Program benefit even if you already have a phone or internet service.
9. What happens if I move to a different state while enrolled in the Lifeline Program?
If you move to a different state while enrolled in the Lifeline Program, it's important to notify the program administrator or your service provider about the change in your address. The Lifeline Program is available in all states, but the specific guidelines and requirements may vary slightly from state to state.
10. Can I apply for the Lifeline Program if I am a student?
Yes, students may be eligible to apply for the Lifeline Program depending on their income or participation in qualifying government assistance programs. The Lifeline Program does not have specific restrictions regarding student status.
11. Can my roommate and I each get a monthly discount?
The Lifeline Program is limited to one monthly service discount per household, which is defined as any individual or group of individuals who are living together at the same address and share income and expenses.
12. If I already receive ACP benefits will I automatically receive the Lifeline Program?
No. You must opt-in with your existing provider or request enrollment in the Lifeline Program with a participating internet provider and chose an eligible service plan.
13. How often do I need to reapply for the Lifeline Program?
Participants are required to recertify their eligibility for the Lifeline Program on an annual basis. This means that you will need to submit updated documentation and information to verify that you still meet the program's eligibility criteria.