LI Program News - 3rd Quarter 2016

October 5, 2016

The Lifeline Program welcomes you to our bi-weekly newsletter, where we will provide clarification, guidance, and updates on Modernization changes.


This newsletter will share some of the programmatic and administrative changes that USAC has been working on and help you better understand these changes.

Updating Service Type in NLAD

On December 2, broadband will become a Lifeline-supported service offering. By that date, USAC will default all existing Lifeline subscriber records in NLAD to the "voice" service type.


As carriers begin to provide broadband service, they will be required to update each subscriber's service type in NLAD within 10 days to one of the following options:

  • Voice only (default)
  • Voice with broadband (broadband does not meet the Minimum Service Standards)
  • Broadband only
  • Broadband with voice (voice does not meet the Minimum Service Standards)
  • Bundled (both voice & broadband meet the Minimum Service Standards)

New subscribers entering the program, as well as existing subscribers switching to a broadband benefit, must enter service initiation dates of December 2, 2016, or later in NLAD. Providers are prohibited from entering a service initiation date prior to December 2, 2016, in NLAD for any eligible broadband service types.


To be eligible for Lifeline reimbursement, a subscriber's service type must meet the minimum service standards required by FCC rules. For more information on the minimum service standards, please visit the Provide High-Speed Broadband page on our website.

These editions will provide updates on the Lifeline Modernization changes.


In this issue...


Questions and Feedback

The Lifeline Program team is here to help you! Visit the Contact Us page and let us know how we can help you.

Benefit Port Freeze - NLAD Updates

Beginning December 2, 2016, new Lifeline subscribers are required to remain with their service provider for a minimum of 60 days for voice and 12 months for broadband services. Bundled service offerings where both voice and broadband meet the minimum service standards will be subject to the default 12-month port freeze.


At the end of a subscriber's port freeze, the subscriber may continue receiving the Lifeline benefit on a month-to-month basis or transfer to another provider.


If the subscriber chooses to switch carriers, a new benefit port freeze period will begin with the new carrier.


For Lifeline voice subscribers, the port freeze is 60 days and begins on the current service initiation date in NLAD. For example, a subscriber with a service initiation date of November 1, 2016 will have a voice port freeze end date of December 30, 2016.


For new Lifeline broadband subscribers, the port freeze is 12 months and begins on the service initiation date in NLAD. For example, a subscriber with a service initiation date of December 2, 2016 will have a broadband port freeze end date of December 1, 2017.


Port Freeze Exceptions in NLAD:


In limited situations, subscribers may be exempt from their port freeze period and transfer their Lifeline benefit to a different provider (click here for more information). To address these unique situations in NLAD, exception codes (outlined below) will be included as part of the existing NLAD exception management process. 


NLAD Exception Codes:



Subscriber moves residential address


Provider ceases operations or otherwise fails to provide service


Provider has imposed late fees for non-payment greater than or equal to the monthly end-user charge for the supported service

V Provider is found to be in violation of the Commission's rules during the 12 month period and the subscriber is impacted by such violation

Provider has multiple SACs within a state and needs to transfer a subscriber from one SAC to another or incorrectly enrolls a subscriber into the wrong SAC and requires a correction


We will provide more information on the port freeze exception codes and documentation required to submit an exception request on our website soon.

Update to the Non-Usage Requirements

Currently, Lifeline subscribers receiving service for which they are not billed (for example, prepaid wireless service) must use their service at least once in a 60 consecutive day period.

Beginning December 2, 2016, the non-usage period has been shortened to 30 days.

If a subscriber fails to use their service within the 30 day timeframe, the service provider is required to notify the subscriber of their pending de-enrollment. Subscribers subject to de-enrollment for non-usage will then have 15 days to use their service before they are de-enrolled from the Lifeline Program.

Additional Considerations For Future Issues

We will provide clarification and further guidance about these topics over the next few months via the Lifeline Program newsletter:

  • Enrollment of broadband-only subscribers in NLAD without a Lifeline phone number
  • Acceptable eligibility documentation to confirm participation in VA Pension Benefit or Survivors Pension Benefit program
  • List of names that each states uses for the SNAP program
  • Consumer outreach materials about the December 2 changes to share with consumers


Lifeline Program


October 2016

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