If you are eligible for a Lifeline Program discount (check your eligibility), there are three steps to applying for and receiving a discount.
Select a participating telephone company 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 telephone company you would like to use, use the interactive map to make sure your telephone company participates in the Lifeline Program or call. You can also call your telephone company directly to ask if they participate in the Lifeline Program.
Your telephone company will give you a Lifeline Program application form to complete. You must contact your telephone company to request the form. This application form will require your:
If you are applying based on state or 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.
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 telephone company with income documentation. Acceptable documentation includes:
Once you submit your completed application (with additional documentation) to your telephone company, 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 telephone company 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.
There are some instances where an identity is unable to be verified. In these cases, your telephone company 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 telephone company as soon as possible.
Here are some examples of documents that your telephone company may ask for to help prove your identity:
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.
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 phone line, contact your carrier to ask when your discount will begin.