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Consumer Eligibility

Consumers qualify for Lifeline through income or through participation in a Lifeline-qualifying program. Only one Lifeline benefit is allowed per household.

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Determine Eligibility with the NV

Service providers must use the National Verifier (NV) to determine eligibility for consumers (except in California, Oregon, and Texas – the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) opt-out states). Consumers may also apply for the Lifeline program on their own, using the NV. Visit the How to Use the NV page for more information.

Income Eligibility

Consumers may qualify for the Lifeline program if they have a gross household income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

The table below reflects 135% of the 2021 Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG).

Household Size 48 Contiguous States, DC, & Territories Alaska Hawaii
1 person $17,388 $21,722 $20,007
2 people $23,517 $29,390 $27,054
3 people $29,646 $37,058 $34,101
4 people $35,775 $44,726 $41,148
5 people $41,904 $52,394 $48,195
6 people $48,033 $60,062 $55,242
7 people $54,162 $67,730 $62,289
8 people $60,291 $75,398 $69,336
For each additional person, add $6,129 $7,668 $7,047

Note: The Federal Poverty Guidelines are adjusted annually, and the above chart reflects guidelines for 2021.

Program Eligibility

Consumers may be eligible for the Lifeline program if they participate in a qualifying program below:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
    • Participants of the Nutrition Assistance Programs in Puerto Rico, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Island are eligible for the Lifeline benefit.
    • Review this list of SNAP program names by state.
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
    • To find contact information for a local Public Housing Agency, visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s state contact and agency listing.
  • Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit

In addition to the programs listed above and through the income-qualifying standard, consumers living on Tribal lands may also use the following Tribally-administered programs to qualify for Lifeline.

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
  • Tribal Head Start
    • Head Start Program eligibility only refers to those households that have already met the income-qualifying standard.
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
    • Although the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) is a federal program, administered by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), award letters are generally provided by either an Indian Tribal Organization (ITO) or another state agency.
    • Review this list of state agency contacts for FDPIR to learn more.

One per Household

For the purposes of the Lifeline program, a household is defined as anyone living at the same address who share income and household expenses. Only one Lifeline benefit is allowed per household.

Lifeline Household Worksheet must be completed any time more than one subscriber at a single residential address receives Lifeline-supported service, or when a new consumer applies for service at an address where there is already a subscriber receiving the Lifeline benefit.