What Is Lifeline Assistance?
Lifeline Assistance is a government assistance program that provides a monthly credit to the local telephone service bill of residential customers. Lifeline Assistance is designed to make basic home telephone service and broadband Internet access service (where available, a minimum speed of 10 Mbps upstream/1Mbps downstream, with monthly usage allowance of 150 Gigabytes) even more affordable for qualified customers.
If you qualify for Lifeline Assistance, NHTC will discount your charge for local voice telephone or broadband Internet access service by $9.25 each month.
What Restrictions Apply to the Lifeline Program?
Lifeline Assistance is a federal benefit – willfully making false statements or providing false or fraudulent documentation in order to obtain the benefit can result in a fine or imprisonment or cause the subscriber to be de-enrolled or barred from the program.
Lifeline Assistance is only available for one Lifeline supported service – fixed or mobile (cellular) voice telephone service or broadband Internet access service – per household. The household may not receive Lifeline benefits from more than one company.
For purposes of the Lifeline program, a “household” is defined as any individual or group of individuals who live together at the same address and share in the household’s income and expenses. A household may include related and unrelated persons.
The household may not receive Lifeline benefits from more than one service provider – that is, if someone in the household receives a Lifeline discount on wireless (cellular) service, the household would not also qualify to receive a discount on home phone service.
Violation of this “one-per-household” rule is a violation of the rules of the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) and will result in the subscriber’s de-enrollment from the Lifeline Assistance program.
Lifeline Assistance is also a non-transferable benefit – it is a violation of federal law to rent, sell or give away your Lifeline service to any other individual, including any individual who may be eligible for Lifeline Assistance.
How Do I Qualify for Lifeline Assistance?
Lifeline Assistance is available to residential telephone customers who have an annual household income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for a household of its size OR who participate in any of the following low-income assistance programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
You may also be eligible for Lifeline Assistance even if you do not personally participate in one of these programs, as long as an individual who lives in your household participates in at least one of these programs.
What Proof of Eligibility Do I Need to Provide?
Qualifying Based on Annual Household Income
If you want to qualify for Lifeline Assistance based on your annual household income, your household income must be at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for a household of that size. NOTE: Federal Poverty Guidelines are updated annually; updates not reflected here are available at www.usac.org or from NHTC’s customer service.