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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.
ETCs submitting 2006 Lifeline verification survey results or 2006 Low Income certifications can check here weekly to see if USAC has received and processed their submissions. Both verifications and certifications must be signed by an officer of the ETC. Check the Low Income Calendar for deadlines.
In July, the California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) adopted new procedures for the Lifeline customer certification and verification processes. Customers receive a letter from the California Lifeline Telephone Service Program administrator (not from their carrier) requesting information from the customer. The letter states the customer must submit a certification or verification form to the California Lifeline Program administrator within 30 days from the date on the letter, or their Lifeline discount will be terminated after 60 days.
Certification and Verification forms completed within the 30 days from the date on the original letter may be submitted to:
PO Box 6033
Artesia, CA 90702-6033
If you did not complete your form within the 30 day period you must wait until you are terminated from the program before you may reapply for the discount. To reapply, contact your phone company directly. You will then receive another form from the California Lifeline Program giving you 30 days to respond with your certification data.
For more information, please contact the California Lifeline Telephone Service Program at 1-877-858-7463 or visit their website at: http://www.californialifeline.com/source/MainPage.aspx
If you believe you were wrongly terminated you may appeal your Lifeline termination by contacting the California PUC using the address on your disqualification letter.
The California PUC is aware of many of the issues concerning the consumer certification and verification processes and is actively working to update and improve this system. Comments about this process can be made to the California Public Utilities Commission Telecommunications Division at 1-800-649-7570.
In an effort to make Low Income disbursement data more transparent to eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) receiving Low Income support for Lifeline, Link Up, and Toll Limitation Service (TLS), USAC has upgraded the Disbursement Data tool. Previously, ETCs were required to request a “Graph Report” or Low Income Payment Explanation to reconcile their Low Income disbursement against the amount of support claimed on FCC Form 497. Using the enhanced Disbursement Data tool, an ETC can review disbursement amounts online, without submitting a request for data to USAC. The Disbursement Data tool will be updated monthly and will have the ability to search for disbursement data dating back to January 2004.
On July 3, 2006, the Wireline Competition Bureau released a Public Notice announcing the August 31, 2006 deadline for ETCs in federal default states (AS, DE, HI, IA, IL, IN, LA, MP, NH) to submit to USAC their annual Lifeline verification survey results. In addition, the Wireline Competition Bureau also announced the August 31, 2006 deadline for all ETCs in states with their own state-based Low Income program to submit to USAC their annual Lifeline certification. Please see the FCC’s Public Notice for more information, including answers to frequently asked questions. Please use the following sample letters when submitting data to USAC:
USAC staff completed a study of participation rates in the Lifeline program in each state. The study uses United States Census data to determine the number of households in the United States. The study compares the eligibility criteria used by each state against government and other publicly available data to determine the number of households eligible under each program. In addition, because many states, including those that use the federal default criteria, include income as a criterion, the study uses the Poverty Guidelines to determine the number of households eligible based on income in these states. The study relies on data published for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Food Stamps to calculate an average number (58%) of households that are receiving assistance through more than one program. This amount was subtracted from the total number of eligible households in states that included multiple programs in their eligibility criteria. The study then compares the number of eligible households in each state against USAC's data on Lifeline participation to calculate an estimated participation rate for each state.
Under the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) rules, all eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) are required to offer a discount to their eligible low-income consumers when they initiate telephone service.Â ETCs can then receive reimbursement for providing a Link Up discount from the federal universal service mechanism by filing a claim for support with USAC.
Link Up support reduces the one-time cost associated with initiating telephone service and line extension to the consumer's residence. Eligible consumers also qualify for a deferred payment schedule for any remaining costs of up to $200. Link Up discounts reduce the cost of either wireline or wireless service, but do not offset the cost of purchasing a wireless phone. Link Up does not cover the cost of wiring inside a home.Â A consumer may receive the Link Up discount only once, unless that consumer moves to a new residence.
A consumer may not receive consecutive Link Up discounts at the same address.
If you have any questions, please contact USAC at (202) 776-0200 or via E-mail.
The Federal Communications Commission announced March 2, 2006, the adoption of an Order extending its relief plan to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina through Universal Service Fund support in the Schools & Libraries and Low Income programs.
USAC will update the information on the www.usac.org/katrina/ website with the specifics of the order.
March 31, 2006 is the last day for submitting revisions to FCC Form 497 for 2004
USAC's administrative window for submitting revisions to FCC Form 497 will close March 31, 2006, for all months prior to January 2005. This applies to submission of data on FCC Form 497, including original (first-time) submissions and revisions of previously submitted data. Therefore, we would like to remind all eligible telecommunications carriers (ETCs) to submit to USAC any FCC Form 497s for any month in 2004 prior to March 31, 2006. USAC's administrative window for submitting data for the year 2003 is currently closed.
FCC Form 497 is available on USAC's web site. You may submit FCC Form 497 via email or via fax to 866-873(USF)-4665. You may also mail FCC Form 497 to the following address:
USAC Low Income Program
444 Hoes Lane
Piscataway, NJ 08854
Should you have further questions, please contact the Low Income Customer Service Center at 866-873(USF)-4727. Thank you very much for your assistance in this matter.
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.