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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.

LCS was introduced in 2018 as a replacement for 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 provided below.

2018 Data Months and Later:

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 on the NLAD “Subscriber Snapshot” report.
    • For service providers in NLAD opt-out states (CA, OR, TX), beginning with the December 2020 data month, this list will be based on information provided by the state public utility commission (PUC).
  2. Modify the appropriate data on the list as needed,
    • Add the dollar amount claimed for each subscriber on the report (the system automatically defaults to the value from the prior month for all states except NLAD opt-out states).
    • Indicate which subscribers are not being claimed and why (see the table of reason codes below).
  3. Upload the report back in LCS,
  4. Set the claim as “ready to certify,” and
  5. Certify the submission (497 Officer must complete this step).

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 lost eligibility but was not de-enrolled prior to snapshot
U4 Subscriber’s account is suspended
U5 Failed to match subscriber in ETC’s internal system
U6 Other

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 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: LIFilings@usac.org

Subscribers Eligible for Reimbursement

For NLAD States

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 fewer subscribers than listed on the snapshot, but it 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”).

For NLAD Opt-Out States

Beginning with the December 2020 data month, service providers in NLAD opt-out states can only claim subscribers listed on the file in LCS provided by their state PUC.

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 search tool enables companies to use various search methods to locate payment data for any month beginning with January 2004 and beyond. Use Lifeline’s Disbursements Open Data tool to search for the total dollar amount disbursed to each ETC and the total number of subscribers claimed by each ETC, every month and year since January 2018.

If you have questions about late payments, the Red Light rule 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 customersupport@usac.org.

Resources

Detailed instructions on navigating LCS are available by clicking on the Instructions link in the upper-right corner of the LCS interface. Review the LCS Upload Field Descriptions for further details on each header in the claims template and how to populate the corresponding columns.