Lifeline - Monthly Discounts on Phone Service

Authored By: Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc. LSC Funded

Frequently Asked Questions About the Lifeline Program

Am i Eligible?

To participate in the program, consumers 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: Medicaid; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps or SNAP); Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8); Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP); Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF); National School Lunch Program's Free Lunch Program; Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance; Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF); Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR); Head Start (if income eligibility criteria are met); or State assistance programs (if applicable).

To see if you are eligible, use the Lifeline Eligibility Pre-Screening Tool on the Universal Service Administrative (USAC) website at

How Do I Enroll?

Apply for Lifeline through your local telephone company or designated state agency. To locate a Lifeline provider in your state, go to

How Do I Verify My Eligibility?

Consumers may be required to certify and provide documentation to prove that the subscriber, or a member of the subscriber's household, including dependants, participates in a qualifying program OR meets the income qualifications for Lifeline eligibility.

For program eligibility verification, acceptable documentation includes:

  • current or prior year’s statement of benefits from a qualifying program;
  • notice letter of participation in qualifying program;
  • program participation documents (or copy); or
  • another official document of a qualifying program.

For income eligibility verification, acceptable documentation includes:

  • the prior year’s state, federal or Tribal tax return;
  • current income statement from an employer or paycheck stub;
  • Social Security statement of benefits;
  • Veterans Administration statement of benefits;
  • Retirement or pension statement of benefits;
  • Unemployment or Workers’ Compensation statement of benefits;
  • Federal or Tribal notice letter of participation in General Assistance; or
  • divorce decree, child support award, or other official document containing income information.

The consumer must present the same type of documentation covering 3 consecutive months within the previous 12 months, if the documentation does not cover a full year of income.

Do I Need To Reconfirm My Eligibility Every Year?

Yes, every year. Once you are enrolled in Lifeline, you must verify your continued eligibility on an annual basis. You will be contacted by your service provider to reconfirm that you remain eligible. If you don’t reconfirm your eligibility, you may lose your Lifeline benefit.








If you become ineligible for the benefit, either because your income has increased, you no longer qualify for a federal benefit program, or someone else in your household gets a Lifeline service, you must contact your provider immediately to de-enroll from the program otherwise you may be subject to penalties.

How Is “Household” Defined 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 income and expenses. Lifeline provides one discount per household. The Lifeline Eligibility Pre-Screening Tool available at can help you determine who is considered to


be a member of your household.

What If I Am Receiving More Than One Lifeline Service?

Households with duplicate Lifeline services (wireless and/or wireline) must select a single provider and de-enroll from other Lifeline programs. Consumers violating the one per household rule may be subject to criminal and/or civil penalties.

Does The Phone Service Have To Be In The Name Of The Person Receiving The Program Benefit?

The phone service does not need to be in the name of the person receiving the benefit; however, the person who qualifies for Lifeline must be a member of the same household as the subscriber.

What If I Have Free Lifeline?

If you receive Lifeline for free, you must use your service every 60 days in order to maintain the benefit.

What do I do if my household is receiving more than one Lifeline discount?

Visit the USAC website at for information.


Call Legal Aid at 1-888-534-5243 to talk with a lawyer and get advice before you talk with the Federal Communications Commission.

FCC Phone number is 1-888-225-5322.

Last Review and Update: Aug 27, 2012

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