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The Lifeline Reform Order (FCC 12-11) requires eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) to annually re-certify the eligibility of every subscriber. The Order also requires ETCs to submit the results of its annual subscriber recertification to USAC along with additional ETC certifications certifying to the accuracy of the data submitted. ETCs are required to report this information on the FCC Form 555, the Annual Lifeline Eligible Telecommunications Carrier Certification Form. The FCC Form 555 and instructions are available on the Lifeline Forms page of the website.
ETCs must obtain recertification from each new subscriber once in the calendar year. The recertification can be completed by the ETC or the ETC may elect for USAC to complete the recertification on their behalf.
Recertification begins the year after the subscriber initially enrolled in the Lifeline Program and continues on an annual basis while the subscriber is enrolled in the Lifeline Program. To capture this information for the annual certification, ETCs are to recertify the subscribers that were claimed on their February FCC Form 497 submitted to USAC and were enrolled in the Lifeline Program prior to January 1 of that year. For example, subscribers claimed on a February 2013 FCC Form 497, who were enrolled in the Lifeline Program prior to January 1, 2013, need to be recertified.
The FCC Form 555 certification is due annually to USAC by January 31. ETCs must also file a copy of their FCC Form 555 with the FCC by filing the form in Docket 11-42 (For information on how to file electronically using the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System, please refer to the FCC's website).
That submission of the FCC Form 555 includes the results of ETCs' recertification of their Lifeline Program subscribers that were claimed on their February FCC Form 497. For ETCs with more than one Study Area Code (SAC), recertification results should be compiled at the state-level and submitted using only one form for each state.
If an ETC started claiming support for a SAC after February of the recertification year, it does not have to file recertification results for that SAC by January 31. However, wireless ETCs that offer Lifeline Program-supported service free-of-charge to subscribers must file the FCC Form 555 to report the number of subscribers de-enrolled for non-usage. This should be completed in Section 4 of FCC Form 555 for each month that the carrier provided service in the year.
The Lifeline Reform Order provides ETCs with the option to elect to have USAC conduct the annual recertification process on their behalf.