After providing eligible consumers with Lifeline Program-supported benefits, service providers should submit a reimbursement claim for providing service at discounted rates.

Service providers must submit one reimbursement claim for each month they are claiming support, and may file either quarterly or monthly and up to one year after the data month. Learn more in the Reimbursement FAQs.

2018 Data Months: Claims and Revisions

For the January 2018 data month (February 1, 2018 snapshot) and later, use the new Lifeline Claims System (LCS) online reimbursement process.

Access the Lifeline Claims System (LCS) online through the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) login screen using your E-File “497 User” or “497 Officer” credentials. Detailed instructions are available by clicking on the "Instructions" link in the upper-right corner of the LCS interface.

FCC Form 497 is not available for data months in 2018 onward. Paper and e-mail submissions are no longer accepted.

More information can be found in FCC Public Notice DA-18-30.

Data Months in 2017 and Earlier

For the December 2017 data month (January 1, 2018 snapshot) and earlier, service providers should use FCC Form 497 (Lifeline and Link Up Worksheet) for reimbursement claims and revisions.

The form and instructions are available on the Lifeline Program Forms page. Service providers are encouraged to file FCC Form 497 online through USAC's E-File system, but can also file by mail, email, or fax to:

Universal Service Administrative Co., Attn: Customer Operations
700 12th Street NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20005
Fax Number: (866) 873-4665
Email: Lifeline Filings

Subscribers Eligible for Reimbursement

Service providers can claim reimbursement for up to the total number of subscribers entered in the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) on the data month’s snapshot date (the first day of the following month). For example, the snapshot for the August data month occurs on September 1.

Service providers are required to keep NLAD up-to-date. If a service provider failed to include all of their Lifeline subscribers in NLAD before the snapshot date, unfortunately the service provider cannot retroactively add the subscribers to NLAD for reimbursement purposes. For revisions, service providers can add or remove claims for subscribers; however, their claim may never exceed the NLAD subscriber count as of the snapshot date.

To claim the Tribal support amount, the subscriber’s “Lifeline Tribal Benefit” field in NLAD must be selected as “Yes” (in the Detail Active Subscriber NLAD Report, the columns must be marked as “1”).

E-File Entitlements

Create an E-file account and sub-accounts to file a claim using either the Lifeline Claims System (LCS) or the FCC Form 497:

  • The 497 Officer can enter data, authorized to certify the form, can create sub-accounts, and is responsible for password resets for sub-accounts.
  • 497 User (sub-account) is a company employee that can enter data, but does not have the authority to certify the form.

Payment Process and Status

Lifeline Program support is paid each month based on the service provider's actual reimbursement claim.

Service providers that file certified reimbursement claims online by the eighth day of the month can receive payment for the claim at the end of the same month. Services providers that do not file by the eighth day of the month will receive payment the following month.

The Lifeline Program's disbursement tool enables companies to use various search methods to locate payment data for any month beginning in January 2004.

If you have questions about Red Light or the Debt Collection Improvement Act, visit the Contributors section of our website. If you have questions regarding the status of a disbursement, a remittance statement, or an invoice received, please contact Billing, Collections, and Disbursements.