Many federal programs are out there that can help out qualifying people that need relief. A program that most people are unaware of is the Lifeline Program, which is a really beneficial one. Many people find it hard to pay for phone or internet services. If you are currently struggling too, and you are looking for financial relief, then you should think about applying for this program.
How Does The Lifeline Program Work?
The Lifeline Program, created by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), offers a monthly discount that could reach $9.25 on different internet and phone services. If you are living in tribal areas, the monthly discount could go up to $34.25. Furthermore, you can use these discounts on services that are related to wireless or wireline.
However, an important aspect of this program is that recipients only receive a reduced amount on a single service. You will not be allowed to use this discount on different services at the same time. As mentioned above, the program offers relief on services that are related to wireless and wireline devices. However, this program also offers coverage on internet service expenses. Furthermore, recipients could receive relief on both broadband voice bundles and internet services.
What About Tribal Land Lifeline Benefits?
With Tribal Land Lifeline, there are additional benefits that come with this particular program. Those who qualify have the chance to receive an additional discount of $100. In order to get the additional $100 discount, you would need to either first activate or install a phone service. If service fees are more than $200, then Tribal Lands Link Up could provide opportunities for financing. The options could involve a payment plan for a year that has no interest rate. Tribal Lands Link Up is responsible for issuing this discount, but there are some carriers that do not allow this service provider. You will need to choose your carrier carefully and make sure that they accept Tribal Lands Link Up.
The Lifeline Program in Depth
As mentioned above, the FCC is responsible for establishing this program. However, the managing agency for the Lifeline Program is the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). A few of its responsibilities are helping recipients apply, and determining their eligibility to help them maintain their benefits when they recertify. Additionally, the USAC is a free source of information, in case you want to learn more about the Lifeline Program.
Similar to other federal assistance programs, you need to meet certain eligibility conditions to get benefits. One of the conditions is that your household’s income should equal or be lower than 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Furthermore, you could automatically qualify when you already receive benefits from the following federal programs:
- Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Specific Tribal Assistance Opportunities
Guidelines of the Lifeline Program
If you are a participant in this program, you need to follow some general rules, which include:
- Proving that you qualify
- Using only one service from the program per eligible household
- Recertifying to remain eligible for benefits
Qualifications for Lifeline
If you are interested in figuring out your eligibility, then you can always look it up online through lifelinesupport.org. Go to the “Do I Qualify” page, which will give you all the information you need on eligibility.
Understanding the Application Process
Normally, the National Verifier application system is the way to apply. It was created by the FCC to make it easier to handle applications. The FCC uses the system to verify your current situation and determine your eligibility. Those who are applying for the first time and those who are recertifying their eligibility status will need to make use of the system to do so.
Applying for the Lifeline Program can be done in different ways. One way you can apply is directly on the online National Verifier portal. To know more about the process, you can look up how to use it. Additionally, you can contact the Lifeline Support Center by calling or reaching out via email.
Documents for Your Application
There are certain documents you will need to present in order to show that you qualify, which could include:
- Documents proving that you participate in a qualifying federal program, along with official documents from the eligible federal program
- Benefits Statement and Participation Letter from a qualifying federal program
- Forms of Income Verification (Tax returns from the previous year, your job’s income statement, recent paycheck stubs, a decree of divorce, an award for child support, and so on.)
If you are unable to offer evidence that you qualify, then you cannot receive benefits from the Lifeline Program.
Do You Need to Recertify?
The easy answer is yes. You will need to confirm that you qualify when you apply for the first time. After you get benefits, you will need to offer evidence that you qualify every year during the recertification process. If you do not qualify, then you might lose your Lifeline benefits. You could no longer qualify if one of the following situations applies to you:
- You have an income increase, so you no longer meet the requirements for income levels
- You no longer receive benefits or are no longer enrolled in a qualifying federal program
- There is another person in your family or housing space that receives benefits from the Lifeline Program
If you find out that you no longer qualify for Lifeline benefits, then you should report this to the program as soon as you can. If you do not do so, then you might face consequences.
Overall, Lifeline offers a monthly discount of up to $9.25. Furthermore, if you are currently staying in a tribal area, then you get a monthly discount of up to $34.25. Those who are eligible for the Tribal Land Lifeline program can get a bonus one-time discount that reaches $100! If you are interested in knowing more or want to start on your application, then you should look up the National Verifier portal system online. Additionally, you can always call the Lifeline Support Center toll-free phone number at 1-800-234-9473.