Lifeline is a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program to help make phone and internet services more affordable for eligible consumers. The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) administers the Lifeline program.
Lifeline is a federal 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.
This website is for service providers, state and federal partners, Tribal partners, and consumer advocates. If you are one of these stakeholders, keep reading. Lifeline eligible consumers and subscribers should visit Lifeline’s consumer website for more information about the Lifeline program.
- Service Providers
- Lifeline Consumers and Subscribers
- State and Federal Partners
- Tribal Partners
- Consumer Advocates
- General Program Resources
Each stakeholder helps support the Lifeline program’s objectives.
The FCC develops policies and regulations for the Lifeline program and provides guidance to USAC.
USAC administers the Lifeline program. USAC is responsible for educating stakeholders on program processes, systems, and rules and requirements as well as recertifying subscribers, determining consumer eligibility, and managing the Lifeline Support Center.
Lifeline service providers are responsible for complying with program rules, including:
- Registering for Representative IDs in the Representative Accountability Database (RAD) to perform applicable transactions,
- Ensuring Lifeline eligible consumers have qualified through the National Verifier (NV),
- Enrolling Lifeline qualified consumers in the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) and keeping NLAD up to date,
- Providing Lifeline subscribers with Lifeline-supported services that meet Lifeline’s minimum service standards,
- Submitting claims to receive reimbursement in the Lifeline Claims System (LCS),
- Advertising Lifeline to their consumers,
- Preparing annual filings (FCC Form 555 and FCC Form 481),
- Tracking their Lifeline subscriber’s usage,
- If the service provider does not assess or collect a monthly fee, the subscriber must use the Lifeline-supported service at least once every 30 days.
- Usage includes making outbound calls, answering incoming calls (excluding calls from their Lifeline service provider), using data, buying minutes, responding to their service provider, and sending a text message.
- If the subscriber does not use their service for 30 consecutive days (non-usage), the service provider must give the subscriber a 15-day notice that if they do not use the service in the next 15 days, their service will be terminated.
- De-enrolling ineligible subscribers, and
- Documenting their compliance with FCC and state requirements.
Lifeline service providers are also responsible for assisting with consumer questions about their device, service, and billing.
Service Provider Quick Links
- USAC can help service providers understand Lifeline program rules, but there is no replacement for reading the FCC’s Lifeline program rules in full.
- To join Lifeline as a new service provider, review the step-by-step instructions on the Join Lifeline as an ETC webpage or download the Service Provider Toolkit.
Lifeline Consumers and Subscribers
Lifeline consumers are consumers who qualify for the Lifeline program but have not yet fully enrolled. Consumers must complete the Lifeline application and contact a Lifeline service provider to be enrolled in the program.
Lifeline subscribers are enrolled in the program and responsible for keeping the information associated with their Lifeline benefit (e.g., address, contact information) up to date. Lifeline subscribers are also responsible for completing recertification, an annual process to confirm subscribers still qualify for Lifeline, if contacted by USAC to do so.
Lifeline Consumers and Subscribers Quick Links
- Lifeline eligible consumers and subscribers should visit Lifeline’s consumer website for more information about the Lifeline program.
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.
State and federal partners include state public utility commissions and Lifeline-qualifying government assistance programs.
State and Federal Partners Quick Links
- For more information for state and federal partners, visit the State and Federal Partners webpage.
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.
Tribal Partners Quick Links
- For more information on Tribal consumers for Tribal partners, visit the Enhanced Tribal Benefit webpage.
Consumer advocates may work with USAC’s Lifeline team to increase program awareness and support eligible consumers and subscribers complete program processes.
Consumer advocates include nonprofits, shelters, and foodbanks.
Consumer Advocates Quick Links
- For educational material to distribute to consumers, visit Lifeline Support’s Community Outreach webpage.
General Program Resources
To stay up to date with the Lifeline program:
- Sign up for the Lifeline program’s monthly newsletter,
- Register for the Lifeline program’s monthly webinar and keep an eye on important dates,
- Review previous monthly webinars and training on the Webinars webpage,
- Review previous monthly newsletters and other important announcements on the Announcements webpage,
- Understand each Lifeline system’s function by reviewing the Lifeline Systems webpage, and
- Find the appropriate Lifeline program contacts by reviewing Lifeline’s Contact Us webpage.