Lifeline is a federal program that provides a monthly benefit of $9.25 to reduce or eliminate the cost of phone/internet connectivity for eligible households.
Watch this introductory presentation for community advocates (originally aired November 17, 2016) to learn about the Lifeline Program and how to support qualifying customers.
Or, skip to Getting Started with Lifeline to learn more.
Consumer advocacy groups, social service agencies, and other organizations that support Lifeline customers are welcome to print and distribute these publications in their communities:
Download and add these buttons to your organization's website to refer potential customers to LifelineSupport.org.
On December 2, 2016, Lifeline will no longer accept the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or the National School Lunch Program's (NLSP) free lunch program as proof of eligibility.
Also on December 2, 2016, Lifeline will begin accepting the Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit as proof of eligibility.
Starting on December 2, 2016, customers can use the Lifeline benefit on home internet or mobile broadband service (still only one discount allowed per household; phone or internet, but not both).
Some companies requested extra time to create a broadband service offering for their Lifeline customers. Please be patient while the companies in your state prepare to offer Lifeline-supported broadband, and continue checking the Find a Lifeline Company page for updates.
The federal Lifeline Program is building a centralized system to check customer eligibility called the "National Verifier." The National Verifier will make it faster to enroll in the program and will automate the annual recertification process for most customers.
All states and territories will use the National Verifier by December 2019. Visit the National Verifier page to find out when your state will begin using the National Verifier or watch the National Verifier Update for Community Advocates webinar recording for more information.
Join USAC, the FCC, and other partner organizations for various training and awareness events throughout the year, including:
Households that participate in certain federal assistance programs or earn 135% or less than the federal poverty guidelines are eligible for a Lifeline benefit. Visit the Do I Qualify? page to learn more.
Customers should ask their current phone/internet company if they offer Lifeline, or find a company that does. The company will provide an application and ask for proof of eligibility (such as a SNAP card).
If the application is approved, in most cases the benefit will begin right away. Visit the How to Get Lifeline page to learn more.
The federal Lifeline benefit is $9.25 per month, but some states offer additional support amounts (for example, Texas Lifeline offers up to $12.75 per month and Pennsylvania Lifeline offers up to $11.75 per month). Participating phone/internet companies can help you determine the amount available in your state.
Residents of Tribal lands are eligible for an additional $25 per month if they participate in a qualifying Tribal Program. Tribal Link Up is also available, which is a one-time discount to cover the cost of service installation/activation. Learn more on the FCC Lifeline for Consumers page (select "Tribal").
Lifeline is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Program administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). Most customer interactions occur through the phone/internet company. Each state has a Public Utility Commission or Public Service Commission that regulates the phone/internet companies, and these commissions can assist in cases where a phone/internet company is uncooperative or unresponsive to the customer.
Phone/internet companies can answer most customers' questions about Lifeline. But if the customer is having trouble working with their company, they can contact their state's Public Utility Commission or USAC for help. Learn more on the Help page.