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National Lifeline Awareness Week
September 11 – 17, 2017

The purpose of Lifeline Awareness Week is to ensure that eligible low-income families and individuals are aware of the Lifeline program, eligibility criteria, non-duplication rules, and annual recertification requirements, and to encourage enrollment. Lifeline is a government program supported by the federal Universal Service Fund that provides discounted wireline or wireless phone or discounted broadband and broadband-voice bundles to eligible low-income subscribers.  An eligible subscriber may receive a discount on either a wireline or wireless service (but not both), or on broadband or bundled service.

Modernizing Lifeline: On March 31, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted an Order to modernize the FCC's Lifeline program to efficiently and effectively meet a critical 21st Century need: making broadband more affordable for low‑income consumers.

Congress directed the FCC to ensure that all Americans have access to advanced telecommunications and information services. With affordability still the largest single barrier to broadband adoption in low-income households, the Order will reboot Lifeline to enable all Americans to share in the opportunities broadband connectivity provides, while building on recent reforms to the program. The Order, for the first time, allows low‑income consumers to apply Lifeline's $9.25 per month discount to stand-alone broadband service as well as bundled voice and data service packages. The Order frees up the Lifeline marketplace to encourage wide participation in the program by broadband providers, giving consumers competitive service options. Minimum service standards will ensure that supported services meet modern needs. Building substantially on the FCC's landmark 2012 reforms of the program, the Order establishes a National Eligibility Verifier to further deter waste, fraud and abuse, while reducing provider burden. In addition, a budget mechanism limits Lifeline's cost to ratepayers.

The Lifeline program will focus on qualifying applicants only through other federal assistance programs that best support the FCC's objectives for the National Verifier: those that support electronic validation, are accountable, and best identify people needing support.

Income and eligibility requirements: The Lifeline program is available to qualifying consumers in every state, territory and commonwealth.

The baseline eligibility criteria are that subscribers must either have an income that is at or below 135 percent of the federal Poverty Guidelines, or participate in one of the following assistance programs:

Tribal Lifeline[1]:

Additional eligibility requirements, program rules and recertification requirement: The Lifeline program has undergone a transformation in recent years to improve program efficiency and combat waste, fraud and abuse to ensure that only those eligible are receiving this vital support.  Additionally, the program has been expanded to cover broadband and broadband-voice bundled services. Program rules and requirements that consumers should know include:

For more information, please visit the following websites:


   [1] Tribal Lifeline takes up to $25 off your monthly bill in addition to the standard Lifeline amount.




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