The Lifeline Program is a federal government subsidy that lowers the phone or broadband service cost for low-income customers. It has undergone significant reform twice, first to combat ongoing allegations of fraud and second to bring the subsidies it offers in line with emerging technologies.
A new government assistance program, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), also helps households get the free monthly phone and internet service. Eligible families can combine their Lifeline benefits with ACP and simultaneously qualify for a Google Play-certified Android smartphone.
What is Lifeline?
Lifeline is a federally funded program managed through the Universal Service Administration Company (USAC). It helps people lower the cost of phone or broadband services.
New York residents are eligible for Lifeline based on income or participation in a government assistance program like Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and SNAP/EBT. Here is an income eligibility chart to help you figure out if you qualify for Lifeline.
Assurance Wireless customers qualified for Lifeline can save at least $9.25 monthly on their wireless bill. It’s free to apply for Lifeline and to be accepted into the program.
Verizon Wireless provides Lifeline-supported services in parts of Iowa, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and New York. However, the program is unavailable in all areas and is limited to one discount per household.
If you live on federally recognized Tribal lands, Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) also provide additional discounts. This includes a one-time value of up to $100 towards internet-capable devices, like tablets or laptops, with some providers.
If you don’t use your Assurance Wireless Lifeline cell phone, we will terminate it, and you will need to reapply. Once you reapply, your free Lifeline service will continue if you make at least one call, send one text, or go online using your plan data every 30 days.
How does Lifeline work?
California lifeline free government phone offers several services to seniors that can help them live independently and stay safe in their homes. They include a range of medical alert systems, fall detection, and services that allow subscribers to connect with care specialists 24 hours a day.
The Personal Help Button — available on some Lifeline medical alert products — automatically dials the North America-based Lifeline Response Center, where it connects subscribers with a Care Specialist. These operators are trained to help patients and their caregivers cope with illnesses such as CHF, diabetes, COPD, Parkinson’s, emphysema, or the aftereffects of a stroke.
In addition to the Personal Help Button, some Lifeline devices offer fall detection, designed to contact a care specialist when a subscriber falls automatically. This service helps to reduce the risk of injury and allows for faster recovery from a fall.
A Lifeline system also includes a personalized care plan accessed from the Lifeline Cares app. This app lets family and friends monitor the status of their loved one’s devices, create a care circle, and share notes and information.
The Lifeline program is available to eligible low-income consumers in every state, commonwealth, territory, and on Tribal lands. The Universal Service Administrative Company administers it (USAC). USAC helps consumers apply for the program, understand eligibility requirements, and keep their benefits current through an annual recertification process.
How do I qualify for Lifeline?
Lifeline is a Federally funded program managed by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). It helps low-income customers get discounts on home phone and internet service.
You can qualify for Lifeline if enrolled in a government benefits program, like Medicaid, food stamps, veterans, and surviving benefits, or if your total household income is below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines.
Your household can include any people living at the same address, including children and relatives, or anyone not related to you who shares your income and expenses. However, you can only receive one Lifeline discount per household.
If your household is more significant than eight people, you may need to complete a household worksheet. This worksheet is available online and at your provider’s office.
The household worksheet can help you calculate your household income. The worksheet shows how many people and how much money you share in the household, which is essential when determining your eligibility for Lifeline service.
You can apply for a Lifeline discount online or at your provider’s office. Some states also offer discounts for customers on Tribal lands.
You can use your Lifeline benefit to save on phone and internet services, including a bundled voice and broadband plan or a smartphone. Some providers will also provide you with a free government-approved phone to keep in your home for emergencies.
How do I apply for Lifeline?
Lifeline is a federal government program that provides discounts on phone service, broadband internet access, and bundled voice/broadband services to eligible households. Qualification is based on income or participation in government assistance programs, such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or Veterans and Survivors Benefits.
Qualifying for Lifeline is quick and easy – log in to the National Verifier online portal, fill out the application, upload copies of your proof of identity and eligibility documents (such as a recent tax return and three consecutive pays stubs), and receive a confirmation number. Once this has been completed, contact your selected service provider and ask them to use the Lifeline discount on your account.
Generally, there is one discount per household. However, this discount is not transferable.
In addition to the Lifeline program, New York also has a separate federally-funded Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP offers a similar monthly discount on broadband service and a one-time deal on an internet-capable device.
You can apply for both programs through the same online portal and download a free application to complete it in person at your local phone or internet company. You may need to select a participating telephone or internet provider, and you have 90 days from the date of application to sign up for service with that company.