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Step 6 Verify Consumer Eligibility

Income Eligibility

An applicant may be eligible for Lifeline Program-supported service if he or she has a household income at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. Read the federal poverty guidelines to learn more.

If an applicant claims eligibility based on income, an eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) must review documentation that demonstrates the household's income. If the ETC has access to a database that contains information to confirm the household's income, the ETC must use the database to validate the household's income. If there is no database available, the ETC must review documentation that demonstrates the household's income. The FCC has deemed the following as acceptable documentation of income (47 C.F.R. Section 54.410(b)(1)(i)(B):

  • The prior year's state, federal, or Tribal tax return;
  • Current income statement from an employer or paycheck stub;
  • Social Security statement of benefits;
  • Veterans Administration statement of benefits;
  • Retirement or pension statement of benefits;
  • Unemployment or Workers' Compensation statement of benefits;
  • Federal or Tribal notice letter of participation in General Assistance; and
  • Divorce decree, child support award, or other official document containing income information.

If the documentation does not cover a full year, such as a current pay stub, the subscriber must present the same type of documentation covering three consecutive months within the previous 12 months.