How to qualify and apply for the Lifeline Program

Lifeline offers discounted phone services to help low-income households so that they can afford to pay their telephone bills. Telephone is a necessity for majority of people in America today since it connects them to the outside world. Having a telephone service is also important for securing employment in many cases. Finally, a telephone can save lives since it can be a reliable communication tool during emergencies. To help low-income households afford telephone services, Lifeline program provides discounted rates for standard telephony.

Anyone can qualify for Lifeline benefits upon meeting eligibility requirements. The program uses income-based eligibility criteria and offers discounted phone services in all the eight federal default states. Federal default states are North Dakota, South Dakota, Hawaii, Louisiana, Delaware, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Indiana. Individuals from these states will be considered for Lifeline benefits if they have household income below 135% of the FPL or receive assistance SSI, TANF, SNAP, LIHEAP, Medicaid, or another similar state assistance program.

Lifeline program is not limited to federal default states only. Some other states also offer these services through their own state government. Residents of other states should check if Lifeline Program is available in the state. Each of these states has its own eligibility criteria – some of them are using income-based eligibility while others check eligibility for Lifeline through applicant’s enrollment in other assistance programs.

Just like the eligibility process, the application process for the Lifeline Program also varies from state to state. In most states, applicants will need to contact their local phone service provider to apply for discounted rates. Some states use designated state agencies to handle applications for Lifeline.

The Lifeline Program can prove to be a major help for low-income families who are struggling to meet their ends. Such families will need phone service to stay connected with the outside world but phone bills will push them further below the poverty line. With discounted phone services from Lifeline Program, they will have minimal phone costs. The amount they save on phone bills can be used elsewhere. Families looking to apply for the program should meet eligibility requirements in their state and they should submit an application in the manner prescribed by their state government.

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