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Lifeline Questions

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Lifeline Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is the Lifeline Program?

Lifeline is a government benefit program that provides discounts on monthly telephone service for eligible low-income subscribers to help ensure they can connect to the nation's communications networks, find jobs, access health care services, connect with family and their children's schools, and call for help in an emergency.  The federal Universal Service Fund (USF) supports lifeline.

What Benefits Are Available Under the Lifeline Program?

Lifeline provides discounts on monthly telephone service (wireline or wireless) for eligible subscribers. Federal rules prohibit eligible subscribers from receiving more than ONE Lifeline service per household. That is, eligible subscribers may receive a Lifeline discount on either a wireline or a wireless service, but may not receive a Lifeline discount on both services at the same time. Additionally, only ONE Lifeline service may be obtained per household. "Household" is defined as any individual or group of individuals who live together at the same address as one economic unit. An "economic unit" is defined as "all adult individuals contributing to and sharing in the income and expenses of a household." However, Lifeline support is available to eligible subscribers living in group living facilities. Lifeline applicants may demonstrate when initially enrolling in the program that any other Lifeline recipients residing at their residential address are part of a separate household by completing the one-per-household worksheet.

How Do I Qualify for Lifeline Discounts?

The Lifeline program is available to eligible subscribers in every state, territory, commonwealth, and on Tribal lands. You must be eligible to enroll. To participate in the program, subscribers must either have an income that is at or below 135% of the federal Poverty Guidelines or participate in one of the following assistance programs:

Oklahoma Residents     (back to Qualify Now page)

  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assist Program (SNAP)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
  • Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit Programs
  • Tribally Administered TANF
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
  • Head Start (income qualifying/residents of Tribal Lands only)
  • 135% Below Poverty Level

 

Kentucky Residents     (back to Qualify Now page)

  • Medicaid
  • National School Lunch Free Program (residents of Tribal Lands only)
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assist Program (SNAP)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
  • Tribally Administered TANF
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIRP)
  • Head Start (income qualifying/residents of Tribal Lands only)
  • 135% Below Poverty Level

 

Missouri Residents     (back to Qualify Now page)

  • MO HealthNet (f/k/a Medicaid)
  • National School Lunch Free Program (residents of Tribal Lands only)
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Food Stamps/Supplemental Nutrition Assist Program (SNAP)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
  • 135% Below Poverty Level

 

Who Pays for the Lifeline Program?

All telecommunications service providers and certain other providers of telecommunications must contribute to the federal USF based on a percentage of their end-user telecommunications revenues. These companies include wireline telephone companies, wireless telephone companies, and certain Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers.

Some subscribers may notice a “Universal Service” line item on their telephone bills. This line item appears when a company chooses to recover its USF contributions directly from its customers by billing them this charge. The FCC does not require this charge to be passed on to customers. Each company makes a business decision about whether and how to assess charges to recover its Universal Service costs.

 

Can I get more than one discounted service?

No. Federal rules prohibit eligible subscribers from receiving more than ONE Lifeline discount per household. An eligible subscriber may receive a discount on either a wireline or wireless service, but not both. If you, or any person in your household, are currently receiving more than one monthly Lifeline service, you must select one provider to provide your Lifeline service and you must contact the other provider to de-enroll from their program. Subscribers found to be violating this rule may also be subject to criminal and/or civil penalties. 

 

Key provisions of the Lifeline rules include the following:

  • Lifeline is available only to eligible subscribers.
  • Only one Lifeline benefit is permitted per household. Federal rules prohibit subscribers from receiving more than one Lifeline service. If a subscriber or his or her household currently has more than one Lifeline discounted service, they must select a single provider immediately or be subject to penalties.
  • Only eligible subscribers with proof of eligibility are qualified to enroll.
  • Subscribers have an obligation to recertify their eligibility every year and should respond to their Lifeline Provider's attempts to recertify eligibility. Subscribers must verify that they remain eligible to participate in the Lifeline program once each calendar year. Subscribers who fail to recertify their eligibility will be de-enrolled from the Lifeline Program.

 

Subscribers will be required to make certain certifications upon signing up for Lifeline and each year after that, including that:

  • The subscriber or a member of the subscriber's household participates in a qualifying federal program or meets the income qualifications for Lifeline;
  • The subscriber's household receives only one Lifeline supported service;
  • The subscriber provided proof of eligibility, if required to do so;
  • The number of individuals in the subscriber's household, if applying for Lifeline based on income;
  • The information contained in the Lifeline application is true and correct to the best of the subscriber's knowledge and that providing false or fraudulent information to receive Lifeline benefits is punishable by law;
  • That the subscriber resides on Federally-recognized Tribal lands, if applying for Enhanced Lifeline support;
  • The subscriber must acknowledge that he or she may be required to recertify continued eligibility for Lifeline, and the subscriber will lose his or her Lifeline benefit if he or she fails to recertify subscriber.

 

The subscriber will also be required to provide certain information to the phone company or a state agency (depending how subscribers in their state sign up for Lifeline), including:

  • Name and address information – Consumers who do not have a permanent residential address must provide a temporary address, which cannot be a P.O. Box. If a consumer resides at a temporary address, the telephone service provider or state agency may require confirmation of the address;
  • Date of birth and the last 4 digits of the consumer's Social Security Number;
  • Consumers participating in the Lifeline program must notify the telephone service provider within 30 days if the consumer moves;
  • Consumers participating in the Lifeline program must notify the telephone service provider within 30 days if the consumer is no longer eligible for Lifeline.

 

How much does it cost?

  

Oklahoma Tribal Lifeline Plans  
1000 Minutes + Unlimited Text + 500MB Data    FREE
Unlimited Minutes + Unlimited Text + 500MB Data   $1.00
Unlimited Minutes + Unlimited Text + 1GB Data   $5.00
Unlimited Minutes + Unlimited Text + 2GB Data   $15.00
    

 

Oklahoma Lifeline Plans
500 Minutes + 500 Text + 25MB Data    FREE
500 Minutes + 1500 Text + 25MB Data   $1.00
25 Minutes + 1500 Text + 500MB Data   $1.00
250 Minutes + Unlimited Text + 500MB Data   $5.00
1000 Minutes + Unlimited Text + 500MB Data   $25.00
Unlimited Minutes + Unlimited Text + 500MB Data   $26.00
Unlimited Minutes + Unlimited Text + 1GB Data   $30.00
Unlimited Minutes + Unlimited Text + 2GB Data   $40.00

 

Kentucky Lifeline Plans  
 250 Minutes/250 Text + 500 MB Data   FREE
1 Text = 1 Minute  

 

Missouri Lifeline Plans  
 250 Minutes/250 Text + 500 MB Data   FREE
1 Text = 1 Minute  

 

For More Information

To find more information, visit the www.lifelinesupport.org, call USAC's toll-free number (1-888-641-8722), call the FCC's toll-free customer service number (1-888-CALL-FCC), or contact your Oklahoma Lifeline Program provider, Easy Wireless (877-476-3451).

 

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