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Lifeline Qualifications

Qualifying for Lifeline benefits

On February 6, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission produced a Reform Order for the Lifeline assistance program, making much needed corrections to the communications assistance program. The reform created a default set of eligibility requirements, yet allowed the states to create their own added criteria for eligibility.

You may qualify to get Lifeline benefits if you presently are enrolled in at least 1 of these baseline ass't programs shown below or, if your household income is no greater than 135% of the federal poverty amount (see table below). Your state could have additional programs not listed here which could also be a qualification.
To receive a federal lifeline subsidy because of program eligility, you'll need to show some proof of participation for that program. To receive benefits because of your low household* income, you will need to provide proof of income.

Baseline Eligibility Programs (at least 1)

  • Federal Public Housing Ass't (Section 8)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Ass't Pgm (SNAP, f.k.a. Food Stamps
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Veteran’s Pension or Survivor’s Pension Benefit

Additionally, you can also be qualified if you reside on federally recognized Tribal land and you participate in any program listed above or any of the following:
  • Head Start (income qualifying)
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Tribal TANF
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations

If you are not enrolled in one of the above programs, use the table shown below to calculate your elibility for your income. You will be requested to show current documentation that proves your household* income.

Federal 2021 Poverty Guidelines x135%

# People Lower 48
and D.C.
1 $17,388
2 $23,517
3 $29,646
4 $35,775
5 $41,904
6 $48,033
7 $54,162
8 $60,291
Each Person After 8 $6,129

Source: The Federal Register

*Household is a person or group of people living at the same physical address sharing expenses and contributing to income.

Check Your State for Details

Many states have additional programs that can qualify you for this Lifeline discount. Some have higher income levels allowed as well. For instance, in Texas, your income can be up to 150% of the poverty amount. So, be sure to verify qualifications with your state's requirements before making a determination of your ability to get Lifeline. You can click the "Order my Phone" tab above then click on the button for your state to see additional information.


Things you should know about Lifeline

  • Lifeline is a Federal Benefit
  • Lifeline service is available for only ONE line per household*, wireless or wire line.
  • A household* can not receive Lifeline benefits from more than one provider.
  • Violation of the one-per-household limitation constitutes a violation of the commission's rules and will result in the subscriber's de-enrollment from the program and potentially prosecution by the United States Government.
  • Providing false or fraudulent information to receive Lifeline benefits is punishable by law.

More information about Lifeline

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See the USAC website to get more details regarding Lifeline.