The federal government offers a variety of assistance options to qualifying people and families in need. One option that most individuals do not think of is the Lifeline Program, which is a great assistance program for people that struggle with being unable to afford phone or internet service expenses. If you are someone who struggles with this, you should think about this option when you are trying to make your financial situation better. This article will help you understand what the Lifeline Program is and how you can benefit.
How the Lifeline Program Works
This assistance option is a program that the federal government provides. Through the Lifeline Program, you can get a discount each month on a wide range of services that amount to $9.25. For people and families that currently reside on tribal lands, the discount that applies can amount to $34.25 each month. As a recipient, you can apply these discounted amounts to wireless or wireline services. Make sure to keep in mind that you can only receive a discounted amount on one service. You cannot apply this discount on several services at the same time.
This program can also offer support for broadband internet service and broadband-voice bundles. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is in charge of the Lifeline Program. It is important to remember that there is a limit of one Lifeline benefit per family.
Understanding The Benefits of Tribal Land Lifeline
Other advantages come with Tribal Land Lifeline. Qualifying recipients can receive an additional one-time discount that is worth up to $100. If you activate or install a phone service first, you should receive an extra one-time discount. Tribal Lands Link Up can provide financing options such as a no-interest payment plan for up to one year. Not all carriers allow Tribal Lands Link Up. You need to be mindful when you choose which carrier you want your service with.
What You Should Know About the Lifeline Program
While the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established the Lifeline program, the Universal Service Administrative Company is in charge of the administration and management of the Program. This includes supporting and taking into consideration recipients. The USAC is able to support recipients throughout the entire application process. This includes eligibility requirements and making sure that recipients keep their benefits during recertification. Additionally, you should find that the USAC provides a useful resource about the program.
If you want to receive benefits from the Lifeline Program, you need to meet the qualifications to be eligible for the program. Your income needs to be at or lower than 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. You might be able to benefit in the case that you already qualify for a federal assistance option. Federal programs that will automatically make you eligible for the Lifeline Program are as follows:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
- Some Tribal Programs
Guidelines of the Lifeline Program: What are They?
If a person participates in the Lifeline program, there are guidelines they need to follow. These guidelines include the following:
- Need to provide evidence that you qualify
- The federal government restricts only one Lifeline service for each eligible family
- Need to recertify to stay eligible and keep their benefits.
Do I Qualify for the Lifeline Program?
If you are interested to figure out whether you qualify or not, you can always look it up online. You can visit lifelinesupport.org. The only thing you need to do is to click on the “Do I Qualify” hyperlink to find out whether you are eligible. Within this page, you can find whatever you need.
The Lifeline Application Process
Generally, you will need to apply through the National Verifier application system. The FCC established the National Verifier to work as a streamlined system. However, there are many ways to apply for the program. You can apply directly to the National Verifier portal online. If you are interested in finding more information about the application process, you should think about the “How to Use It” section of lifelinesupport.org. Additionally, you can contact the Lifeline Support Center toll-free number at 1-800-234-9473, or email [email protected].
Documents You Should Present for Your Lifeline Application
As an applicant, keep in mind that you need to present documents since you need to verify that you qualify. These documents need to prove your situation and that you meet the eligibility requirements. The documents that you need to present to the Lifeline Program can include the following:
- Documents that prove that you are taking part in a qualifying federal program
- Official documents from a qualifying program
- Declaration of the benefits from a qualifying program
- Letter of notice of participation from an eligible program
- Forms of verification of income (earlier year tax returns, an income statement from your employment, paycheck stubs, a divorce decree, a child support award, etc.)
Will I Always Need to Continue to Verify My Eligibility?
Simply, the answer is yes! The first time that you need to verify your eligibility is during the application process. After that, you will need to present your eligibility annually when you go through the recertification process. You might lose your benefits from the Lifeline program in the case that you do not qualify anymore. Any of the following circumstances could result in you losing your eligibility:
- An income increase means that you are not eligible for the income requirement
- You unenroll from a certified federal program
- Someone else in your home receives Lifeline benefits
If you figure out that you do not qualify for the program, then you will need to unenroll from your Lifeline benefits as soon as possible. In the case that you do not unenroll, you could face penalties.
What Should I Do If I Have a Disability and Need Help with My Application Process for the Lifeline Program?
You should contact the Lifeline Support Center toll-free number at 1-800-234-9473, or send an email to [email protected]. The Support Center can be able to offer further assistance and information on your Lifeline benefits. Also, the FCC has a Disability Rights office that can offer more help to you. If you want to contact the Disability Rights office, then you have the option to do so. You can contact the Disability Rights office on the phone at 202-418-2517 for a voice phone call, at 844-432-2275 for a video call, or by sending an email at [email protected].
The Bottom Line
On the surface, the Lifeline Program does not seem like a program that can help out your current situation. However, the money that you can save could end up making a world of a difference. The discount you can get from the program can assist you in improving your current situation and your life in so many ways. Through the Lifeline Program, you can get a discount every month on different services up to an amount of $9.25.
For people and families that are currently residing on tribal lands, the discount applied can amount to $34.25 each month. People who are eligible for the Tribal Lifeline Program can also get an extra benefit of an additional one-time discount of up to $100. If you are interested in more information or want to apply for the program, you can apply online at the National Verifier portal or contact the Lifeline Support Center toll-free number at 1-800-234-9473.