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Claim Reimbursement

The Lifeline Claims System (LCS), is the online filing system that service providers use to receive reimbursement for offering Lifeline-supported services to eligible consumers. This system was introduced in 2018 as a replacement for the FCC Form 497.

Previously providers would use FCC Form 497 (the “Lifeline and Link Up Worksheet”) to submit claims. This form is still accepted for downward revisions for December 2017 data months and earlier. More information on the legacy submission process is below.

2018 Data Months: Claims and Revisions

How to File a Claim

All claims must be submitted using LCS. FCC Form 497 is not applicable for data months in 2018 and onward.

To file a claim, a service provider will:

  1. Access LCS and download the list of subscribers eligible for reimbursement,
    • The list is a report in LCS based off the NLAD “Subscriber Snapshot” report
    • The list is in a format service providers can make modifications to, then upload back to the system in the same format
  2. Add the dollar amount claimed for each subscriber on the report,
    • The system automatically defaults to the value from the prior month
  3. Indicate which subscribers are not being claimed and why (reason code),
    • See the table of reason codes below
  4. Upload the report back into LCS,
  5. Set the claim as “ready to certify,” and
  6. Certify the submission.

Reason Codes for Omitting a Consumer from Claim

Code Description
U1 Signed up for Lifeline, no usage yet
U2 Subscriber is in a non-usage cure period (snapshot date falls within the 15-day cure period)
U3 Subscriber de-enrolled prior to snapshot, but was not de-enrolled from NLAD prior to snapshot
U4 Subscriber’s account is suspended
U5 Failed to match subscriber in ETC’s internal system
U6 Other

For a walkthrough of how to file original claims or revisions, review the Overview of the Lifeline Claims System (LCS) webinar on the Learn page. Detailed instructions are also available by clicking on the Instructions  link in the upper-right corner of the LCS interface.

Example of a Revision:

Service providers can submit revisions to a claim if needed:

Bob submits an original claim for the August 2018 data month in September 2018. In October 2018, he realized that he did not claim all of the subscribers that he provided the Lifeline discount to during this data month. In order to submit a revision, Bob logs into LCS to file an upward revision by adding a subscriber rate so he can receive the accurate amount of reimbursement for the August 2018 data month.

2017 Data Months and Earlier

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

The form and instructions are available on the Lifeline Program Forms page. Revisions must be submitted by mail, email, or fax to:

Universal Service Administrative Company
700 12th Street NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20005

Fax Number: (866) 873-4665
Email: Lifeline Filings


Subscribers Eligible for Reimbursement

Service providers can only claim reimbursement for the total number of subscribers entered in the NLAD on the data month’s snapshot date. This is the first day of the following month.

A service provider can claim less subscribers than listed on the snapshot, but cannot claim more.

If a service provider failed to include all of their Lifeline subscribers in NLAD before the snapshot date, the service provider cannot retroactively add the subscribers to NLAD for reimbursement purposes.

For this reason, we encourage and require service providers to keep NLAD up-to-date.

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

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 by the eighth day of the month can receive payment for the claim at the end of the same month. Services providers that file after the eighth day of the month will receive payment the following month.

The Lifeline Program’s Funding 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 the Red Light or the Debt Collection Improvement Act, visit the Service Provider section of our website. If you have questions regarding the status of a disbursement, a remittance statement, or an invoice received, please email