Lifeline Cell Phone Payment Assistance Program for Low-Income Consumers

The advent of the internet age has revolutionized how we live, work, and connect with each other. Having reliable access to the internet is no longer seen as a luxury, but rather as a cultural necessity. We use the internet to search and apply for jobs, keep in contact with families, complete school research projects, pay bills, and so much more. Unfortunately, as increasingly necessary as cell phones and internet access has become, not everyone can readily afford to keep themselves and their families connected. The good news is there are programs designed to help!

Staying Connected With the Lifeline Assistance Program

The Lifeline Assistance program is a federal program that first began in 1985 in order to assist low-income households get and stay connected with a low-cost landline phone set-up. The program was established in tandem with the FCC during the Ronald Reagan Administration who recognized the increasing importance phone service had for Americans. The first form of the program offered discounts for those who qualified. 

This new program was extremely popular and effectively helped millions of Americans afford phone service they might have otherwise done without. And when phones changed, the program changed with it. Starting in 2005, the Lifeline Assistance program started to include discounts available for pre-paid wireless service phone plans and some providers offered a free or discounted cell phone applicants could use to access the program.

During this era, cell phones were fairly basic and yet they were already transforming our culture. They became necessary lifelines for people who lived in remote areas and for families who often had to be separated. They also made finding employment opportunities a lot easier for those who couldn't stay by an at-home telephone all day. 

In 2016, the Lifeline Assistance federal program once again evolved, this time to include broadband internet services to eligible households. This enabled applicants who are at the federal poverty line or below to enjoy the benefits of both on-the-go phone service and at-home reliable internet. This latter addition was made as once again lawmakers saw how technologies have reshaped the world. For example, every Fortune 500 company has posted job openings online and over 50% of all bills are paid online.

To live, work, and socialize in today's world requires being connected and the Lifeline Assistance program is designed to help you get connected even if you don't think you're financially able. 

Applying for the Lifeline Assistance Program

Under today's program guidelines, eligible low-income subscribers can receive a discounted monthly internet service of just $9.25. Note, there is a limit of one Lifeline discount per household and that discounted rate can be applied either to wireline or wireless service but not both at the same time. 

In order to apply, the household income of the applicant must be at or below 135% of the federal poverty level. You can apply for a Lifeline discount no matter what United States state, territory, commonwealth, or Tribal land you live on. In order to establish that you meet the financial need for assistance, you may be asked to show proof such as in the form of your previous year's tax return, Social Security statement of benefits, or an award letter from SNAP or a similar federal assistance program. 

Don't Let Money Be Your Excuse Not to Get Connected, Apply for Lifeline Assistance Today

Tens of millions of Americans struggle with making their monthly bills and so when it comes to either paying your rent or your internet bill, the choice to keep a shelter over your family's seems obvious. However, having both is possible and, as today's increasingly tech-centered world shows, is also an American necessity. It's estimated that at least 40 million households qualify for Lifeline Assistance but have not yet applied. Are you one of them? Learn if you are eligible and apply on the FCC's government website- Lifeline National Verifer.