In today’s fast-paced world, the need to connect and use phone services is extremely essential now more than ever. However, many low-income households are still struggling to gain access to the internet and everyday telecommunications. This is where the Lifeline Program comes into play. By providing this program, the government ensures that all Americans have the opportunities and security that phone service brings, including being able to connect to jobs, family, and emergency services.
This post is the ultimate guide to the Lifeline Program to keep you up to date on the program’s details.
What is the Lifeline Program?
The Federal Communications Commission initiated The Lifeline Program to help make communication services more affordable for low-income individuals. Lifeline offers subscribers a discount on qualifying monthly telephone service from participating wireline or wireless providers. These discounts make it easier for low-income consumers to access jobs, healthcare, and educational resources.
Lifeline During Coronavirus Pandemic
To keep Americans stay connected during the Corona pandemic, the FCC temporarily waived some requirements for subscribers living in Tribal lands. This includes recertification, reverification, general de-enrollment, and income documentation. These waivers have been extended until June 30, 2022. FCC released the latest waiver order on March 25, 2022. This action ensures most current Lifeline subscribers won’t be involuntarily removed from the Lifeline program during this period of national crisis.
Furthermore, the FCC made it easier for those who lost their jobs during the pandemic to enroll in the program. On April 29, 2020, the FCC temporarily waived its requirement that consumers providing income documentation must provide three consecutive months of income to qualify for the program. On June 1, 2020, the FCC introduced a simplified Lifeline service enrollment process for tribal members living in rural areas. This change aims to provide further telecommunication access to those in need.
How does Lifeline Program work and what are the benefits?
The Lifeline program offers discounts on phone and internet service based on household income and size. Subscribers can apply in every state, territory, commonwealth, and tribal land in the U.S., as long as they meet certain income or program requirements.
Companies must meet certain standards on Lifeline-supported services, including the number of usage minutes allowed, specified data speeds, and the option of a hot-spot-enabled device.
AirTalk Wireless offers its qualifying Lifeline subscribers free monthly wireless services and if eligible, a free 4G/5G smartphone device.
History of the Lifeline Program
When did the Lifeline Program start?
The FCC established the Lifeline program in 1984 during Ronald Reagan’s administration to offer discounted phone service to qualified individuals. Under the 1997 Universal Service Order, the FCC expanded the scope of Lifeline to ensure it was more accessible to low-income households by boosting the federal support amount. Since cell phones became more popular, the FCC made additional changes in 2005 so wireless providers could offer free cell phone service using Lifeline benefits.
How long will the Lifeline program last?
As of now, the FCC hasn’t declared an end date for the Lifeline Program. For this reason, you can rest assured knowing that you can enjoy the benefits of this program for many years to come.
Who qualifies for the Lifeline Program?
The Federal Lifeline Program is available to qualifying individuals that meet certain eligibility requirements.
If you meet one of the requirements below, you may qualify for the Lifeline Program and receive free monthly internet service:
1. Your income is 135% or less than the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
2. You or someone in your household participates in one of the following programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
3. If you live on Tribal lands, you can receive Lifeline if your household income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or if you (or someone in your household) participates in:
- Any of the federal assistance programs listed above
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Head Start (only households meeting the income qualifying standard)
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
4. Qualify Through Your Child or Dependent: You can receive the Lifeline benefit if your child or dependent participates in any of the programs listed above.
What is the new ACP program and how can you apply?
The Affordable Connectivity Program is a federal benefit program created by the FCC which launched in December of 2021 to ensure that households receive access to the broadband services they need to stay connected to who and what matters most.
What do you need to apply?
AirTalk Wireless also makes it easy for qualifying individuals to apply to the Affordable Connectivity Program. To apply, you will need your full name, date of birth, last 4 digits of your Social Security Number or Tribal identification number, home address and proof of eligibility.
Qualifying individuals can visit AirTalk Wireless’ website at www.airtalkwireless.com to apply within minutes to receive Unlimited Data, Talk and Text and when also signing up for the Lifeline program with AirTalk, individuals will receive a free 4G/5G Smartphone from iconic brands such as Apple, Samsung, LG and more!
Frequently Asked Questions about the Lifeline Program
How is the FCC involved?
The FCC approves company can participate in the Lifeline Program, which is operated by the Federal Communications Commission. This program offers qualified customers free internet service for the duration of the program, which is a non-transferable discount program limited to one per household. To learn more about the FCC and its Lifeline program, visit the FCC’s official website.
What is the National Verifier?
The National Verifier (NV) is Lifeline’s centralized application system and determines whether a consumer is eligible to receive Lifeline benefits. USAC manages the NV and provides customer service to consumers through the Lifeline Support Center.
Is Lifeline the same as ACP?
The answer is no. Lifeline is a permanent program that provides affordable access to essential telecommunications services. ACP is a new program to make broadband more accessible and affordable for struggling households. However, at AirTalk you can combine Lifeline and ACP benefits which provide qualifying customers with free unlimited data, talk, text, and a free 4G/5G smartphone!
Which Lifeline provider offers a free phone?
You can receive Lifeline free phones such as iPhone 6S, iPhone 7, Galaxy S8, LG G8 ThinQ, and more if you qualify for the Government benefit program at AirTalk. Don’t worry – although Lifeline & ACP only provide the free service, AirTalk has taken the extra step to provide you with these smartphones absolutely free with no contracts, no monthly bills, and no credit checks!
To sum up, The Lifeline program is a federal program that lowers the monthly cost of phone or internet service, and it’s available to individuals that meet the program’s eligibility requirements.
AirTalk Wireless is a Government benefit program provider and each qualified customer applying at AT can receive a free smartphone plus unlimited phone and internet service.
So, if you’re looking for a way to save money on your phone bill, be sure to check out the benefits of the Lifeline Program through Airtalk Wireless!