Lifeline

Trainings & Outreach

LI Program News - December 20, 2016

December 20, 2016

USAC submitted the National Verifier Draft Plan to the FCC on November 30, 2016. It outlines USAC's proposed approach to designing and building the Lifeline National Eligibility Verifier. The draft reflects feedback from a wide variety of USAC and Lifeline stakeholders – from states and federal agencies to Lifeline service providers to consumer groups. Your continued input and feedback is important as we design and build the National Verifier.

 

USAC appreciates your feedback to the National Verifier Draft Plan. Feedback is welcome throughout the implementation of the National Verifier, however, only comments received by December 30, 2016 will be considered in guiding the creation of the Final National Verifier Plan approved by the FCC.

 

Please note, the National Verifier Plan will be updated approximately every six months throughout the life of the implementation and we will post the updated version as soon as it is available.

 

Please continue to provide your comments through the National Verifier webpage or by emailing LifelineProgram@usac.org.

The FCC issued temporary waivers of parts of the Lifeline eligibility rules to several states, allowing service providers to continue relying on those states' databases and processes to determine customer eligibility. However, the Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit became a qualifying program for Lifeline in all states and territories on December 2, 2016.

 

The FCC also clarified that Puerto Rico's Nutritional Assistance Program (PAN) and American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands' Nutrition Assistance Programs are qualifying programs for the Lifeline benefit.

 

USAC's website provides information on the limited temporary waivers and details which states' databases and processes can be relied on for eligibility verification.

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The FCC granted Oregon and California's request to delay implementation of the port freeze rules in those states. The port freeze rules will begin on June 1, 2017 in California and Oregon or as soon as the respective state databases and processes are updated to comply with the Order, whichever date is sooner.

Service providers in California that provide service to Lifeline broadband-only customers must use NLAD to check for duplicate subscribers. Service providers also need to verify subscriber eligibility directly (by checking program eligibility or income eligibility) for California broadband-only subscribers before entering these customers into NLAD. To check for duplicates, please follow the process posted on our website.

 

California service providers should continue to use the existing enrollment process (including the duplicate check) for Lifeline subscribers with voice-only or bundled (i.e., voice and broadband) services.

 

For assistance with NLAD or to request changes to the way your company receives information regarding the duplicate verification check (e.g., to designate a different point of contact), please contact NLAD Support.

Beginning in January 2017, service providers should use the new FCC Form 497 when filing for the December 2016 data month. Please note, original filings and revisions for November 2016 and all prior months should use the current form. Changes to the form include:
  • Addition of "Voice", "Broadband" and "Bundled" service types
    • To claim support for a bundled offering, the service offerings for both voice and broadband need to meet the applicable minimum service standards as outlined in 47 CFR §54.408. If only one of the service offerings meets the appropriate minimum service standards, then the subscriber should be included as either voice or broadband based on the qualifying service offering.
  • Removal of:
    • Filer 499 ID
    • Technology Type (Wireline, Wireless)
    • ETC Designation Type (Lifeline Only, High Cost/Low Income)
    • "Deferred Interest" under Tribal Link Up
    • TLS Data Field

If you have any questions about the FCC Form 497, please contact Form497@usac.org for assistance.

The FCC Form 555 is due January 31 each year. All service providers must file the results of their annual recertification process with USAC, the FCC, and relevant state commissions each year. Service providers can submit their FCC Form 555 online with USAC through E-File.

 

In order to help service providers comply with FCC rules and Lifeline Program requirements, USAC continues to update the Common Audit Findings page with a list of the most common rule violations identified during the Beneficiary and Contributor Audit Program (BCAP) and Payment Quality Assurance (PQA) reviews of Lifeline Program participants.

 

Though the list is not comprehensive, we hope this information will encourage carriers to review their policies and procedures to assist in their compliance with program rules.

 

Lifeline Program

Newsletter

December 2016

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