Lifeline

USAC-Elected Recertification for 2017

Welcome! If your company selected USAC to conduct the annual rolling recertification process on its behalf, you're in the right place. Visit this page often to find the latest updates about the USAC-elected recertification process, and what USAC needs from you to successfully recertify your Lifeline subscribers.

Not sure if you are participating? View this list of participating service providers.

If you have any questions or need assistance with this process, contact us at LIVerifications@usac.org.

For more information please view the webinar recording about the 2017 USAC-Elected Recertification process. You can access the printable slide deck here.

Need to update the contact information for your company? Please complete the election spreadsheet and email to LIVerifications@usac.org

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ScheduleFAQsProcess for CustomersNotes for Customer Service AgentsStates with Eligibility WaiversView USAC's List of Your Lifeline Subscribers

To-Do List

USAC relies on participating companies for certain parts of the rolling recertification process. Please make sure you complete these action items by the deadlines:

  1. Review and update your Lifeline subscribers' information in NLAD before USAC generates the subscriber list for each batch (see schedule below)
    • A phone number is required for every subscriber (including broadband-only)
    • A valid mailing address is required. If the "mailing address" field is blank, USAC will use the "service address" field instead.
    • Up-to-date subscriber information in NLAD is critical for a successful recertification
  2. Familiarize your customer service agents with the recertification process for customers
  3. More action items coming soon!

View USAC's List of Your Lifeline Subscribers

USAC's list of Lifeline subscribers to be recertified comes from the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). USAC retrieves the list – a "snapshot" of the subscriber records at a point in time – about one month before sending the letters for each batch (see schedule below).

The snapshot is fixed; any changes to subscriber records after the snapshot occurs will not be incorporated into the recertification batch. Service providers are not allowed to provide a separate or partial list.

Before USAC Generates Batch Snapshot:

You can look up which of your Lifeline subscribers USAC will recertify and verify their contact information using the "detail active subscriber report" in NLAD:

  • Start with the list of SACs you submitted to USAC for recertification.
    • Only Lifeline subscribers in the SACs you submitted to USAC will be included in the USAC-elected recertification process (elections were due December 15, 2016).
  • Log into NLAD and select "Reports" from the left-hand menu.
  • Select the "Detail Active Subscriber Report."
  • Select a SAC and your preferred download format.
  • Press "Submit" to download the report.
  • Sort by the "Anniversary date" column (last column).
  • View the Lifeline subscribers listed for each anniversary month.
    • Each month will be recertified in a separate batch (see schedule below). For example, anniversary dates from July 1 through July 31 will be grouped in the "July Batch."
After USAC Generates Batch Snapshot:

Look up the (non-editable) list USAC used to contact your subscribers for each data month ("batch") with the "ETC Recertification Snapshot Report" in NLAD:

  • Log into NLAD and select "Reports" from the left-hand menu.
  • Select "ETC Recertification Snapshot Report."
  • Select a data month and year from the drop-down filter.
  • Press "Submit" to download the report.

Results of the Recertification Process

Once the 60-day recertification window ends for a batch, USAC will send the results for each SAC in a standard format via email (this will be a protected file and you will be sent the password separately). Please reference the schedule below for when you can expect to receive the results of the recertification process for each batch.

USAC's 2017 Recertification Schedule

USAC will recertify Lifeline subscribers in batches; one month of anniversary dates per batch. Below is a schedule of what you and your Lifeline subscribers can expect.

Dates are subject to change.
USAC discourages service providers from sharing specific dates with subscribers.

Schedule: July Batch
Subscriber anniversaries: July 1 – July 31
Last day to update subscriber info in NLAD: 2/10
60-day Start: March 24, 2017
60-day End: May 22, 2017
Reminders: March 24, April 12, May 8
USAC sends results to service providers: June 22, 2017
De-enroll failed Lifeline subscribers from internal company systems:* June 29
Automated phone call informing Lifeline subscribers of pending de-enrollment: June 29

Schedule: August Batch
Subscriber anniversaries: August 1 – August 31
Last day to update subscriber info in NLAD: 2/28
60-day Start: April 13, 2017
60-day End: June 11, 2017
Reminders: April 13, May 2, May 26
USAC sends results to service providers: Week of July 17, 2017
De-enroll failed Lifeline subscribers from internal company systems:* TBD (30-45 days from 60-day End*)
Automated phone call informing Lifeline subscribers of pending de-enrollment: TBD

Schedule: September Batch
Subscriber anniversaries: September 1 – 30
Last day to update subscriber info in NLAD: 4/18
60-day Start: May 18, 2017
60-day End: July 16, 2017
Reminders: May 18, June 6, June 30
USAC sends results to service providers: Week of August 21, 2017
De-enroll failed Lifeline subscribers from internal company systems:* TBD (30-45 days from 60-day End*)
Automated phone call informing Lifeline subscribers of pending de-enrollment: TBD

Schedule: October Batch
Subscriber anniversaries: October 1 – 31
Last day to update subscriber info in NLAD: 5/16
60-day Start: June 15, 2017
60-day End: August 13, 2017
Reminders: June 15, July 5, July 28
USAC sends results to service providers: Week of September 18, 2017
De-enroll failed Lifeline subscribers from internal company systems:* TBD (30-45 days from 60-day End*)
Automated phone call informing Lifeline subscribers of pending de-enrollment: TBD

Schedule: November Batch
Subscriber anniversaries: November 1 – 30
Last day to update subscriber info in NLAD: 6/13
60-day Start: July 13
60-day End: September 10
Reminders: July 13, August 1, August 25
USAC sends results to service providers: Week of October 23, 2017
De-enroll failed Lifeline subscribers from internal company systems:* TBD (30-45 days from 60-day End*)
Automated phone call informing Lifeline subscribers of pending de-enrollment: TBD

Schedule: December Batch
Subscriber anniversaries: December 1 – 31
Last day to update subscriber info in NLAD: 7/19
Mailing date: August 2017 (exact date TBD)
60-day response window: TBD
Reminders: Day #1, #20, and #45**
USAC sends results to service providers: TBD (30-45 days from 60-day End)
De-enroll failed Lifeline subscribers from internal company systems:* TBD (30-45 days from 60-day End*)
Automated phone call informing Lifeline subscribers of pending de-enrollment: TBD

* Lifeline Program rules require participating companies to de-enroll failed subscribers from their internal company systems (and stop claiming reimbursement) within five (5) business days of receiving the recertification results from USAC. Companies are responsible for de-enrolling failed subscribers in NLAD within one (1) business day after updating their internal company systems

** If the scheduled reminder falls on a weekend or a holiday, the reminder will be advanced or delayed by one day.

States with a Waiver and Special Situations

Waiver States: Some states received a temporary waiver from Lifeline's streamlined list of eligibility programs, and USAC will honor state eligibility waivers (more details in FCC Order 16-1324). Up until the approved deadline, subscribers in these states will receive a modified version of the recertification form that still includes the retired eligibility programs.

Nebraska and Oregon: In Nebraska and Oregon, USAC will only recertify Tribal subscribers (these subscribers must be flagged as "Tribal" in NLAD to be included). The Nebraska and Oregon State Public Service/Utility Commissions will recertify non-tribal subscribers.

Obligation to Check Databases: Some states require service providers to first attempt confirming Lifeline eligibility via a database before contacting the subscribers directly. USAC will not be checking databases prior to mailing the recertification letters. USAC will recertify every subscriber listed in NLAD for the participating SAC; no partial lists are permitted. If this situation puts your company in violation of your state's law, contact us to cancel your USAC recertification election.

FAQs

Show All Answers

 

Q1: How can subscribers contact USAC if they have questions or experience problems recertifying?

A1: USAC does not offer live customer support during the recertification. Subscribers who need assistance will be directed to the carrier's customer support line as provided to USAC.

Q2: What is the cutoff date for completing recertification?

A2: Subscribers must complete recertification within 60 days of the date printed on their recertification letter.

Q3: After the 60-day recertification window expires, are we able to recertify those subscribers that missed the window?

A3: No. Any effort to recertify a subscriber outside of their 60-day recertification window is not valid. However, if a subscriber is de-enrolled but you believe they are still eligible for Lifeline, you may enroll them again as a new Lifeline subscriber.

Q4: If USAC is unsuccessful, can I recertify my subscribers directly?

A4: Companies that elect USAC to perform recertification should make every reasonable effort to assist subscribers through USAC's established process. If the subscriber has exhausted all three recertification method options and is still unable to recertify, the company may recertify that subscriber directly. More detail about this is in the 2016 Public Notice.

If you do recertify subscribers directly, your recertification must still be completed within the 60-day window established by USAC. As their Lifeline provider, you must retain documentation of the recertification as required by the record-keeping requirements found in CFR 54.417. Also note that this recertification will not be included in the recertification results provided by USAC, and these subscribers will continue to receive recertification reminders as well as a de-enrollment notice from USAC.

Q5: Will USAC automatically de-enroll my failed subscribers from NLAD?

A5: No. The participating company is responsible for de-enrolling their failed customers from NLAD within one (1) business day of removing the failed subscribers from their internal company systems. (Reminder: participating companies must remove customers from their internal company systems within five days).

Q6: By electing USAC, will I be in compliance with all of the Lifeline Program's recertification rules?

A6: Yes. The USAC-elected recertification process complies with all of the Lifeline Program's recertification rules. USAC will provide the recertification results (pass/fail) well in advance, so participating service providers will have enough time to complete all of the required actions (de-enroll from your company's system, de-enroll from NLAD) prior to the first anniversary date in each batch.

Q7: What about subscribers in states that have a waiver for the new eligibility programs?

A7: USAC will honor state eligibility waivers. Up until the state's approved deadline, subscribers in these states will receive a modified version of the recertification form that still includes the retired eligibility programs.

Q8: How do I update my subscribers' data?

A8: Update their data directly into the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD). Make sure you update the data before USAC generates the subscriber list for each batch from NLAD (see the To-Do List and Batch Schedule for details).

Q9: Can I elect to only recertify some of my subscribers in NLAD / send a separate list to use instead of NLAD?

A9: No, you may not. USAC pulls the subscriber data directly from NLAD and will recertify every active subscriber in NLAD for each participating SAC. USAC is unable to accept separate, altered, or partial subscriber lists outside of NLAD.

Q10: How do I change the anniversary date of a subscriber?

A10: You can't. The "Anniversary Date" is not an editable field in NLAD. It is automatically generated based on the subscribers' transactional history. In most cases, the subscriber's anniversary date is every 12 months after the service initiation date. To learn about situations that impact an anniversary date (specifically, service disruptions or a changed service type), see scenarios #5 and #6 on the Rolling Recertification page.

Q11: Can I receive live subscriber status updates?

A11: Unfortunately, no. USAC does not have the ability to provide live recertification status updates during the 60-day response window to either service providers or subscribers. After the conclusion of the 60-day response window, service providers will receive a file containing the results of the recertification, and the subscribers will receive a de-enrollment notification if they failed to recertify.

Q12: What information will be included in the results I receive back from USAC after each recertification batch? Will I receive copies of the actual recertification forms?

A12:Check out USAC’s recertification results template to see what information USAC will provide to carriers after each recertification batch. This information will be sent via email in a password-protected Excel file. This file should be maintained in accordance with Lifeline record keeping requirements. USAC will not send carriers copies of the paper recertification forms.

Q13: What if we missed the deadline for updating a subscriber's mailing address? Can we contact the customer directly?

A13: For each recertification batch USAC will use the subscriber information in NLAD at the time of the published deadline. If carriers fail to make necessary updates by this deadline, those updates will not be included in USAC's recertification process (but carriers should still update NLAD). If the mailing address is incorrect for a subscriber, the subscriber will likely not receive USAC's initial notification. However, if the Lifeline Telephone Number in NLAD is correct, the subscriber should still receive the robo reminders. These subscribers can still recertify using the IVR or website methods. Carriers can reach out to these subscribers directly to communicate about recertification requirement, USAC's process, and the required response period, however USAC discourages carriers from communicating exact dates until the recertification process is actually underway.

Q14: What updates need to be made in NLAD after recertification and who is responsible for making those updates? USAC?

A14: Carriers are responsible for making any necessary updates to NLAD after recertification. This includes but is not limited to de-enrollments for non-responding or failed subscribers and changes to eligibility programs for subscribers that recertified. Carriers may also choose to update the "Reverification Date" field in NLAD, but note that this is an optional field and has no impact on the subscriber's actual anniversary date.

Q15: How many opportunities will a subscriber have to recertify? If they fail one attempt, can they try again?

A15: Until a subscriber has successfully recertified, there is no limit to the number of times a subscriber may attempt to recertify within the established 60 day response period.

Q16: What do I do if a subscriber says they lost or did not receive their form?

A16: If a subscriber lost or did not receive their recertification form, first verify they are part of an active recertification batch by referencing the Recertification Snapshot in NLAD. If the subscriber is part of an active recertification batch, you can direct them to the website or the IVR to recertify.

Q17: Should I outreach to subscribers in advance of USAC's process?

A17: Yes, USAC encourages service providers to educate their subscribers about who USAC is, why we are reaching out to them, and our recertification process. However, we discourage you from providing exact dates until the batch process is underway as these dates are subject to change and providing them in advance may inadvertently trigger the 60-day response window.

 

Process for Customers

Please familiarize your customer service center with the Lifeline Program's recertification process from a customer's perspective:

  • Customer receives a letter from USAC (Spanish version of letter) in a blue envelope. The letter asks customers to respond within 60 days. The three options available to respond are:
    • Call an 800 number and complete an interactive voice response (IVR). This system will tell the customer whether they passed or failed the recertification.
    • Visit a website and fill out the prompts online. This system will tell the customer whether they passed or failed the recertification. Here is an overview of the online form.
    • Complete the paper recertification form (Spanish version of form) and mail it back. The customer must wait until the end of the 60-day period to find out whether they passed or failed.
  • If the customer doesn't respond, they'll receive several reminders during the 60-day period.
    • The customer can receive up to three reminders via robocall or robotext. Robo reminders inform customers that (1) it is time to recertify their benefit, (2) how many days they have left to recertify, and (3) they can continue immediately to recertify using the IVR, recertify online (URL provided), or complete and return the mailed recertification form.
      • Robocalls will be available in both English and Spanish. Robotexts will only be available in English.
      • Whether a subscriber receives a call or text notification is determined by the type of service a subscriber receives as indicated in NLAD (see table below):

        Service Type

        Wireline

        Wireless

        Voice

        Call

        Text

        Broadband

        Call

        Call

        Bundled Voice

        Call

        Text

        Bundled Broadband

        Call

        Call

        Bundle Voice/Broadband

        Call

        Text

      • Reminders are scheduled on days #1, #20, and #45 (excluding weekends and holidays; see the batch schedule for details) of the 60-day period.
  • If the customer successfully completes recertification:
    • They will not receive a notice from USAC and no further action is required.
  • If the customer does not respond within 60 days (or completes the recertification process but fails),
    • They will receive a call from USAC notifying them that they will be de-enrolled from the Lifeline benefit.
    • The customer is de-enrolled from the program and will stop receiving their benefit.
    • If the customer believes they are still eligible for the Lifeline benefit, they may re-enroll as a new Lifeline subscriber. There is no "late recertification" in Lifeline; the customer must complete the application process again and provide proof of eligibility the same way a new Lifeline subscriber would.

Notes for customer service agents:

  1. It is your company's responsibility to provide customer support during the recertification process. USAC does not have a customer support number for Lifeline recertification.
  2. USAC recommends the interactive voice response (IVR) system as the easiest way to complete the recertification process.
  3. Customers must respond by the date on their letter. There is no way to complete the process after the 60-day period expires. If they miss the 60-day period, the company has to cancel their Lifeline benefit, but they can try get their benefit back by completing the Lifeline application process again (as if they were a new Lifeline subscriber).
  4. Customers may recertify by confirming that they participate in any qualifying program, not just the one they showed proof/documentation when they initially signed up for Lifeline. For example, if they signed up by showing they participate in LIHEAP, they are allowed to recertify by confirming they participate in SNAP or Medicaid instead.
  5. Customers are not supposed to continue receiving reminders once recertification is complete. However, sometimes the process is delayed and a customer may erroneously receive a reminder after they've completed their recertification.
  6. If a customer asks what USAC is: USAC is a company that partnered with us to confirm that you are still eligible for the Lifeline benefit.