Lifeline

Lifeline National Verifier

The FCC's 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order directed USAC to develop a National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier (National Verifier) to determine all subscriber eligibility, starting in 2017.

The obligation of determining subscriber eligibility – for both initial certification and the annual recertification – will shift from service providers to the National Verifier upon deployment in each state.

States and Data Sources

State Automated data sources
All National Verifier States Federal Public Housing Assistance
Colorado SNAP and Medicaid
Mississippi SNAP
Montana Manual eligibility review
New Mexico SNAP and Medicaid
Utah SNAP and Medicaid
Wyoming Manual eligibility review

The initial states in the National Verifier beginning December 5, 2017, and their available data sources are:

USAC has developed Computer Matching Agreements to verify certain state administered program participation, and with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to verify participation in federal public housing assistance programs.

Verification for remaining qualifying programs or for disputes of the automated results will be conducted manually through collection of documentation from the consumer.

The Migration and Reverification Process for the initial states begins upon the soft launch.

Initial Launch Process

National Verifier Schedule National Verifier Timeline - Click to Enlarge

Responsibility for Recertification: Service providers will recertify consumers in the initial states through December 31, 2017, anniversary dates.

Training: Training for states in the initial launch will occur in late October and early November 2017.

Updates to NLAD: There will be a number of changes to the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD), including a "National Verifier Mode" for the user interface, new NLAD error codes, and updates to the API.

Soft Launch: The soft launch of the National Verifier will occur on December 5, 2017. During the soft launch, service providers can check consumers' Lifeline eligibility through the National Verifier. USAC recommends that service providers use this period for testing and to make sure existing processes and systems align with the National Verifier. Consumers will not have direct access to the system during the soft launch. Additional system enhancements may occur between the soft launch and the hard launch.

Consumer Migration and Reverification: When the National Verifier launches in a state, the eligibility of all existing Lifeline subscribers in that state will be reverified before migrating their record to the National Verifier. If a subscriber cannot be verified automatically, the service provider must provide (or collect) acceptable proof of eligibility. The Migration and Reverification Process will begin in December 2017.

Hard Launch: The hard launch of the National Verifier will occur on March 13, 2018. On this date, service providers in the initial group of states must use the National Verifier to determine initial subscriber eligibility.

Access to the National Verifier

Visit Access and Interaction with the National Verifier to learn about how to access the National Verifier, including the Consumer Portal, Service Provider Portal, API, common process flows, and how to create an account.

How the National Verifier Works

The National Verifier includes both the Lifeline Eligibility Database (LED) and the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). The LED contains eligibility information from state and federal data sources; NLAD prevents duplicate enrollments.

If using the online Consumer or Service Provider Portals:

  1. Enter the consumer's identifying information (name, DOB, SSN4, etc.), complete the consumer certifications, and press "submit." The National Verifier will search for the consumer in the LED and NLAD.
  2. If the consumer information is found in the LED and passes the NLAD checks, the National Verifier will approve them as eligible for 90 days.
    • If the consumer is not found, the user will be prompted to upload (or mail in) supporting eligibility documentation.
  3. Receive a "yes/no" eligibility determination in near real-time.

If using the paper form:

  1. Fill out the National Verifier application form and include copies of the consumer's identity and eligibility documentation
  2. Mail the application packet to the National Verifier
  3. The National Verifier processing center will enter the consumer's information into the database. If the consumer does not pass the automated database check, a processing agent will review the eligibility documentation and render a decision.
  4. The consumer will receive their eligibility determination via their preferred contact method.

Upon eligibility approval, service providers will claim the consumer in NLAD and provide service.

Resources

Recordkeeping

When the National Verifier launches in a state, service providers will not be required to keep eligibility documentation for new federal Lifeline enrollments. Service providers should continue following applicable state recordkeeping requirements.

Audit processes are under review to accommodate the National Verifier's role in eligibility/identity checking.

Feedback Opportunities

Stakeholder feedback is important to the National Verifier development and build process. USAC is seeking input from service providers and other users to ensure the system is intuitive and results in a low-burden, high-integrity environment.

Provide feedback any time via email, as a blog comment, or sign up as a feedback volunteer and USAC will contact you if you are selected as an interview/testing candidate. We also recommend attending the Lifeline Program Update Webinars for general updates about the National Verifier, or the technology forum (on the fourth Tuesday of each month) for discussing the system's technology specifications.

Not in the National Verifier Yet?

USAC has not announced states that will join the National Verifier after the initial launch. To continue serving Lifeline consumers in non-NV states:

Service Providers: Continue following the existing eligibility verification processes until the National Verifier is deployed in your state.

States: USAC is consulting with states and state administrators to implement the National Verifier in the most effective and efficient manner possible. To partner with USAC, contact the State Partnerships Team.