COVID-19 Update: USAC remains open for business—Washington, DC office closed. Learn more about USF program responses

Customer Eligibility

Lifeline service providers are required to confirm their customer’s eligibility prior to enrolling them in the Lifeline Program, and retain the eligibility documentation according to the recordkeeping requirements.

To be eligible for Lifeline, the consumer must document that they have a qualifying household income or participate in a qualifying program, and complete a certification form. Only one Lifeline benefit is allowed per household.

New Requirement: Use FCC Forms 5629, 5630, and 5631 to determine eligibility. Service providers in all states and territories must begin using the universal forms for initial eligibility verification by July 1, 2018. The Universal Lifeline Consumer Forms are available on the Lifeline Forms page.

Determine Eligibility with the National Verifier

Service providers must use the Lifeline National Eligibility Verifier (National Verifier) to determine eligibility for customers. Service Providers in California, Oregon, and Texas with work with their State Lifeline program.

Customer Eligibility

Income-Based Eligibility:
A customer may be eligible for Lifeline-supported service if they have a gross annual household income at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. Visit the Income Eligibility to learn more, including income guidelines and acceptable forms of documentation.

Program-Based Eligibility:
A customer may be eligible for Lifeline-supported service if they participate in SNAP, Medicaid, or another qualifying program. Visit the Program Eligibility page to see the full list of qualifying programs and acceptable forms of documentation.

Eligibility for Enhanced Support:
Lifeline customers that live on federally-recognized Tribal lands can receive discounts of up to $25 per month in addition to the standard benefit amount. Visit the Enhanced Lifeline Support and Link Up for Tribal Lands page to learn more.

Eligibility Certification Form

Service providers must use the National Verifier Application Form. Service Providers in California, Oregon and Texas must work with the State Lifeline program or, if required, use a National Verifier form.

When qualifying a consumer through the National Verifier, providers must:

  • Provide the specified information that summarizes the program’s rules,
  • Obtain the subscriber’s full name, residential address, whether the address is permanent or temporary, billing address (if different), date of birth, last four digits of SSN or Tribal identification number, and name of qualifying program or number of household members,
  • Obtain initialed acknowledgements of each certification statement from the subscriber under penalty of perjury,
  • Obtain the subscriber’s signature, and
  • Use clear, easily understood language

USAC recommends collecting new subscribers’ permission to transmit their information to the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD), as is required by the rules, with the certification form.

One Lifeline Benefit per Household

Service providers are required to take steps to ensure they are not providing duplicate Lifeline-supported service to the same subscriber or household.

A household is anyone living at the same address who share income and household expenses.

A one-per-household worksheet must be completed any time more than one subscriber at a single residential address receives Lifeline-supported service, or when a new customer applies for service at an address where there is already a customer receiving a Lifeline benefit.

Service providers in all states and territories will be required to use the Universal Lifeline Consumer One-Per-Household Worksheet by July 1, 2018. Until then, service providers can create their own worksheet that complies with the federal requirements.