Lifeline is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program that lowers the monthly cost of phone and internet services. Eligible consumers may receive up to $9.25 off their phone or internet service; eligible consumers living on Tribal lands may receive up to $34.25 off their phone or internet service.
What is your role?
Lifeline consumers must apply for Lifeline and then sign up with a participating phone or internet company, recertify annually, and keep their information up to date.
Note: Are you a consumer who wants to receive the Lifeline benefit? Click the Get Lifeline button below to visit our consumer website.
Service providers enroll qualified consumers in Lifeline systems, submit reimbursement claims, and file annual documentation to meet FCC reporting requirements.
USAC administers the Lifeline program following the FCC’s Rules and Orders. Specifically, USAC is responsible for recertifying subscribers, determining consumer eligibility, and managing the Lifeline Support Center.
This website is for service providers, state and federal partners, Tribal partners, and consumer advocates. If you are a consumer who wants to receive the Lifeline benefit, click the Get Lifeline button above to visit our consumer website.
Service Provider First Steps
The Lifeline program operates on a rolling basis, so service providers can complete the registration process and begin offering Lifeline discounts at any time. Below is an overview of the registration process; read our Service Provider Toolkit for a more detailed walkthrough.
In order to access Lifeline systems, service providers must complete the following four steps:
- Become an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC)*
- Create a Compliance Plan
- Obtain a Study Area Code (SAC)
- Obtain a Service Provider Identification Number (498 ID/SPIN)
Visit our Join Lifeline as an ETC webpage to learn more about how to complete each step.
*Note: Service providers will need to work with a state public utility commission or the FCC to complete this step. See the linked webpage for more information.
Service providers must use Lifeline systems to enroll subscribers and file reimbursement claims. Learn more about the different Lifeline systems before you set up system access for your ETC.
- Assign a 497 Officer
- In USAC’s E-file system, the 498 Officer (Company Officer on the FCC Form 498) assigns a 497 Officer who is responsible for certifying reimbursement claims and creating the ETC Administrator user role In NLAD.
- Register in the Representative Accountability Database (RAD)
- Service provider employees and enrollment representatives self-register for a Representative ID, which will be needed to perform transactions in NLAD and the National Verifier
- Create National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) accounts for service provider employees
- The 497 Officer creates the organization’s NLAD account
- The 497 Officer assigns the ETC Administrator, who will primarily manages day-to-day responsibilities for service provider’s access to USAC’s systems
- The ETC Administrator assigns any additional employees as ETC subaccounts
*Note: Visit our Account Types webpage for an overview of roles and access privileges.
The ETC Administrator or the appropriate ETC subaccounts can begin enrolling consumers as soon as their NLAD account has been created. On the first day of each month, USAC takes a snapshot of subscribers in NLAD that are eligible to be claimed for reimbursement for the previous data month.
Lifeline Tribal partners may work with USAC’s Lifeline team to increase program awareness and support eligible consumers and subscribers to complete program processes. Tribal partners include Tribal governments and government agencies and nonprofits serving Tribal communities.
State and Federal Partners
Lifeline state and federal partners may work with USAC’s Lifeline team to increase program awareness, build and maintain database connections to qualify consumers for the Lifeline program, and support eligible consumers and subscribers to complete program processes.
For more information for state and federal partners, visit the State and Federal Partners webpage.
Affordable Connectivity Program
The Lifeline program is separate from the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), a long-term, $14 billion FCC program that helps low-income households pay for internet service and connected devices. Please note that consumers and service providers can participate in both programs. To learn about the program, service providers should visit our ACP webpages. Consumers can apply for the program at acpbenefit.org.
Find the appropriate Lifeline program contacts by reviewing Lifeline’s Contact Us webpage.