Get Started »
The News Archive gives you access to all announcements related to Lifeline information as they were made throughout the years. The archives will be updated as new announcements are made.
In its 2004 Order on Lifeline and Link Up issues, the Commission included a voluntary survey for states concerning state Lifeline and Link Up programs. The FCC directed USAC to mail the survey form to states and territories. USAC received responses from 35 states and territories.
Compilation of Survey Responses (407kb)
In addition, USAC provided the Commission with a copy of the responses for informational purposes.
CENTURYTEL, INC./COMPLIANCE WITH THE COMMISSION'S RULES AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING ADVERTISING THE AVAILABILITY OF LIFELINE AND LINK-UP.
Adopted a $75,000 Consent Decree with CenturyTel, Inc. for failure to publicize the availability of Lifeline and Link-Up universal service discounts in a manner reasonably designed to reach low-income residents on tribal lands. Terminated the investigation. Action by: Chief, Enforcement Bureau. Adopted: 11/17/2005 by ORDER. (DA No. 05-2992). EB
Consumers with questions about how to apply for the Lifeline benefit of $130.00 for a wireless handset and at least 300 minutes of service should contact the wireless telecommunications carrier in the area in which the consumer is living.
Consumers should contact the local telephone company serving the area in which they are living with questions about how to receive the $30.00 in Link Up benefits for eligible households displaced by Hurricane Katrina.
Consumers are encouraged to visit USAC’s web site at http://www.usac.org/katrina/ for additional information.
Please note that consumers cannot apply for these benefits through USAC.
Consumers apply through their telecommunications carrier. Carriers that provide discounts to eligible consumers then apply to USAC for reimbursement.
Holiday Announcement - The Universal Service Administrative Company will be closed Monday, October 10, 2005 in observance of the Columbus Day holiday. USAC will resume normal business operations Tuesday, October 11, 2005.
The High Cost and Low Income Division introduced a new disbursement tool that will allow Eligible Telecommunications Carriers (ETCs) to search and view disbursement data from January 2004 to present. The new Disbursement tool can be found under "Telecom Carriers" on the left hand side of the page. View Disbursement Data
On June 6, the FCC granted the California PUC's request for an extension of time to comply with the requirement to establish certification and verification procedures by June 22, 2005. California received an extention until March 1, 2006. The FCC rejected commenters' suggestions that it grant a blanket waiver of section 54.410 of its rules for eligible telecommunications carriers in other states.
The Commission’s April 29, 2004 order addressing Lifeline and Link-Up imposes certain requirements on all states regarding the establishment of certification and verification procedures for recipients of federal Lifeline and Link-Up universal service support.
Under the terms of the Lifeline Order, states that have their own state-based Lifeline and Link-Up programs have flexibility in how the certification and verification procedures are established and administered. States that do not have these state-based low income programs are designated “federal default states” and must follow certification and verification procedures set out in the Lifeline Order. Under the terms of the Lifeline Order, all states -- including federal default states -- must have their certification and verification procedures in place by June 22, 2005.
The Wireline Competition Bureau (Bureau) has received several inquiries concerning implementation of the Lifeline Order’s rules. In this Public Notice, we provide answers to frequently asked questions.
For further information, contact Mika Savir, Telecommunications Access Policy Division, Wireline Competition Bureau at (202) 418-7400, TTY (202) 418-0484.
*All companies that submit their Verification Sample letter via email must follow up with a signed paper copy.
The results of the first annual verification of continued eligibility of Lifeline subscribers required pursuant to the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) new rules are due on June 22, 2005. Specifically, eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) in states that follow the federal rules because they do not have their own Lifeline programs must check the continued eligibility of a “statistically valid sample” of Lifeline customers and report those results to USAC. USAC has posted on its web site a chart to help ETCs determine how to calculate what is a “statistically valid sample [22kb]” based on the number of Lifeline customers served. USAC has also posted a sample letter [34kb] ETCs can use to submit the results of their verification efforts. Please visit USAC’s web site for these documents.
Details describing the verification process are set out in the FCC’s Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, WC Docket No. 03-109, FCC 04-87 (released April 29, 2004) at paragraphs 33-36 and Appendix J. In this Order, the FCC provides two ways for ETCs operating in federal default states to verify eligibility. An ETC can contact a state agency directly to determine whether particular subscribers continue to be eligible to participate in a qualifying program or have a certain income level. In the alternative, the FCC’s Order states that an ETC can survey their subscribers directly by having the subscribers present in person or send a copy of any Lifeline-qualifying public assistance card (such as a Medicaid card) and self-certifying, under penalty of perjury, that they continue to participate in the Lifeline-qualifying public assistance program. Subscribers who have qualified for Lifeline under the income-based criterion must present current documentation that shows their household income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, and must self-certify, under penalty of perjury, the number of individuals in their household and that the documentation presented accurately represents their annual household income.
Please see the FCC’s Order for further explanation. The verification results should be sent to USAC at the address below by June 22, 2005:
Vice-President, High Cost and Low Income Division
Annual Lifeline Verification
2000 L Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
The 2005 Estimated Income Requirements for a Household At or Below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines are now available at USAC’s website.
The 2005 HHS Poverty Guidelines are available at the US Department of Health and Human Services website.
In Order DA 05-525, the Commission admonished Verizon for violating Section 214(e)(1)(B) and the rules by failing to publicize the availability of Lifeline or Link-Up services "in a manner reasonably designed to reach those likely to qualify" for the services. The Commission found that Verizon failed adequately to publicize Lifeline or Link-Up to low-income residents of 11 tribes in its service area for a period of approximately three years. The Commission did not propose a forfeiture because Section 503(b)(6) specifies that a proposed forfeiture must be issued against a common carrier for violations of the Act or the rules within one year of the occurrence of the violation. Because Verizon undertook renewed outreach efforts in these six states within the last year, the Commission was constrained from pursuing a proposed forfeiture. However, it found an admonishment necessary to redress the statutory and rule violations, and to ensure future compliance. The Commission required Verizon to file a report with the Enforcement Bureau within 60 days of the Order detailing its plans for future compliance with the Act and the Commission's rules and orders. The Order is attached.
ERRATUM - LIFELINE AND LINK-UP. Issued Erratum correcting Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, FCC 04-87, released April 29, 2004. (Dkt No. 03-109). Action by: Assistant Chief, Telecommunications Access Policy Division, Wireline Competition Bureau. Adopted: 01/31/2005 by ERRATUM. (DA No. 05-262). OMD