A changing Lifeline….
Beginning on December 02, 2016, the Lifeline Assistance Program expanded to support at-home broadband connectivity.
What does this mean for you?
Changes to Program Eligibility
On December 02, 2016, Lifeline program eligibility changed. The following is the new eligibility criteria:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps;
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
Residence on Tribal lands and participation in:
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance;
- Head Start (only households meeting the income qualifying standard);
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF); or
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.
If you previously received Lifeline benefits through the following programs, you will need to demonstrate your eligibility through participation in one of the other qualifying programs:
- National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
For more information, click here.
Applying for Lifeline as a Consumer/Subscriber
Consumers may still apply directly through their service providers to receive the benefit. Provider availability differs by state. Please use this map resource produced by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to locate providers in your state.
Information about Telecommunications support in your state can be found here.
Don’t yet see an offer for Lifeline broadband in your state? Try our Offer Locator Tool to find other low-cost offers in your area.
How to Use Your Lifeline Benefit
To obtain your Lifeline benefit today, you should first find a provider using the methods listed above. To subscribe through your provider, you will need to prove your eligibility by filling out an application (differs by provider) and in many cases, showing proof of your participation in an eligible program. Once approved, the provider will help you enroll in their service. In many cases, the benefit is applicable to specific offers, and the provider will inform you of your options. This resource can help you make a decision on data usage and packages.
In order to keep your Lifeline benefit, you must use your Lifeline service. If you haven’t used your Lifeline benefit for 30 days, you’ll receive a notice from your provider. You must then use the benefit within the following 15 days or your benefit will be cut off.
Each year, you must recertify your eligibility, namely to prove that you are still a participant in an eligible program. The provider will reach out about 90 days in advance of the benefit anniversary to confirm that you are eligible to receive the benefit for another year.
For the most up-to-date consumer information, please see USAC’s Lifeline Support website.