Lifeline is a federally funded program that helps income-eligible consumers afford local telephone service. The program is administered by local telephone companies and provides a monthly discount on basic telephone services for eligible customers.
Lifeline applications must be submitted directly to your local phone company.
Consumers enrolled in one or more of the following assistance programs may qualify for Lifeline benefits:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
- Food Stamps
- National School Free Lunch Program (free lunches only)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance or Section 8
A consumer also qualifies for Lifeline if his or her household income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines. Information regarding the poverty guidelines is available from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at http://www.hhs.gov/ or 1-877-696-6775.
If you qualify, you need to know the following:
- To enroll, you must send an application directly to the telephone company. Before applying, call the company to ensure you are sending the application to the appropriate mailing address.
- With the application, you must provide documentation showing proof of income or proof of participation in a Lifeline-qualifying assistance program.
- Only one Lifeline discount is available per household. It may be applied to either a landline or wireless telephone, but not both.
- If your household receives more than one Lifeline discount, you must select a single provider immediately or be subject to penalties.
- To qualify for Lifeline, telephone service must be listed in your name. Also, you cannot be listed as a dependent on another person’s tax return.
- Starting in 2012, all Lifeline subscribers must re-certify eligibility each year.
- Phone companies will contact all Lifeline subscribers in late 2012 to reconfirm their eligibility. If a subscriber does not re-confirm eligibility, he or she may lose the Lifeline benefit.
How to apply
Applications are available from participating telephone companies or online from the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor.
Read the application carefully and contact the phone company with any questions. Return the completed application directly to the phone company.
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) represents Indiana consumer interests before state and federal bodies that regulate utilities. As a state agency, the OUCC’s mission is to represent all Indiana consumers to ensure quality, reliable utility services at the most reasonable prices possible through dedicated advocacy, consumer education, and creative problem solving.
Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South
Indianapolis, IN 46204