Lifeline Support

Apply for Lifeline

If you are eligible for a Lifeline Program discount (check your eligibility), there are three steps to applying for and receiving a discount.

One: Select a Service Provider

Select a participating service provider in your state. See the Lifeline Program interactive map of the U.S. and select your state for a comprehensive list of participating companies in your state.

If you already know the service provider you would like to use, use the interactive map to make sure your service provider participates in the Lifeline Program or call. You can also call your service provider directly to ask if they participate in the Lifeline Program.

Two: Fill Out an Application

Your service provider will give you a Lifeline Program application form to complete. You must contact your service provider to request the form. This application form will require your:

  • First and last name
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Last 4 digits of your Social Security number (or Tribal identification number)
Program-Based Eligibility Documentation

If you are applying based on federal program-based eligibility, you will also be required to provide a copy of a document showing proof of your participation in the qualifying program. For example, if you are eligible for the Lifeline Program because you participate in the Medicaid program, you will need to submit a copy of your Medicaid benefit card with your application.

Income-Based Eligibility Documentation

If you are applying based on your household's income being at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, you must provide your service provider with income documentation. Acceptable documentation includes:

  • Current income statement from an employer
  • Prior year's state, federal, or Tribal tax return
  • A Social Security statement of benefits
  • A Veterans Administration statement of benefits
  • A retirement or pension statement of benefits
  • An Unemployment or Workers' Compensation statement of benefits
  • A federal or Tribal notice letter of participation in General Assistance
  • A divorce decree
  • A child support award
  • Other official document containing income information

Three: Identity Verification and Enrollment

Once you submit your completed application (with additional documentation) to your service provider, they will process your application and enroll you in the Lifeline Program. Your application information will be entered into a USAC database that will verify your identity and check to make sure your household is not already receiving a Lifeline Program discount. To check your identity, USAC will work with your service provider to complete a Third Party Identity Verification (TPIV).

In most cases, the information provided will be verified and you will be enrolled in the Lifeline Program and eligible to receive your discount soon thereafter.

TPIV Failure

There are some instances where an identity is unable to be verified. In these cases, your service provider will contact you to let you know of the issue, called a TPIV failure, and may ask for further documentation verifying your identity. Submit copies of the required documentation to your service provider as soon as possible.

Here are some examples of documents that your service provider may ask for to help prove your identity:

  • Driver's license (unexpired)
  • Birth certificate
  • W-2
  • Prior year's state, federal, or Tribal tax return
  • Social Security card
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Certificate of U.S. Citizenship
  • Permanent resident card (unexpired)
  • Permanent resident alien card (unexpired)
  • U.S. government, military, state, or Tribal issued ID (unexpired)
  • Passport (unexpired)
  • Military discharge documentation
  • Weapons permit (unexpired)
  • Government assistance program document (that includes proof of identity)
  • Statement of benefits from a qualifying program (that includes proof of identity)
  • Unemployment or Worker's compensation statement of benefits

If your identity is able to be verified using this additional documentation, you will be enrolled to receive a Lifeline Program discount. If USAC is unable to verify your identity, you will be denied a Lifeline Program discount.

Receive Your Discount

After you are enrolled in the Lifeline Program, depending on your carrier, you may be supplied with a new phone and your benefit should start as soon as you receive it. If you are, however, applying a Lifeline Program benefit to an existing service, contact your carrier to ask when your discount will begin.