Lifeline Reforms: Consumer Tip Sheet
FCC Consumer Tip Sheet
Lifeline Program & New Reforms
Lifeline/ Link Up program, which has helped low-
income consumers afford phone service since 1984. The Federal Communications Commission with the
help of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) administers the USF.
What has changed?
determined that eligible consumers can only receive one Lifeline-subsided phone service.
What Do I Do If I Have More Than One Lifeline Phone Service?
providers to de-enroll from one of the Lifeline programs. Under FCC rules, you may only be enrolled in a
single Lifeline program.
USAC--the group that administers the Lifeline program for the government--may notify you that you
are enrolled in two programs and the letter will explain that you are permitted to have one Lifeline-
subsidized phone service. The letter will explain that:
You will have at least 30 days to choose which subsidized phone service to keep.
The company or companies not chosen by you must de-enroll you from Lifeline within five days
after being notified of your choice by USAC.
However, to make sure the company you do not choose does not charge you higher rates that
you are not expecting, you must call the phone company you do not want as your Lifeline
provider to either disconnect service entirely or to discuss an appropriate non-Lifeline rate plan
with the company.
At the end of the process, you will have no more than one Lifeline-subsidized phone service.
How Do I Qualify for Lifeline Discounts?
Eligibility criteria vary by state. States that have their own Lifeline program may have their own criteria.
For states that rely solely on the federal Lifeline and Link-Up program eligibility criteria, subscribers must
either have an income that is at or below 135% of the federal Poverty Guidelines, or participate in one
of the following assistance programs:
Supplemental Security Income (SSI),
Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8),
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP),
Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), or
The National School Lunch Program's Free Lunch Program.
For More Information
Affairs Bureau Web site at www.fcc.gov/cgb, or contact the FCC's Consumer Center by calling 1-888-
CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 1-866-418-0232; or
Federal Communications Commission Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, SW Washington, D.C. 20554
You can also view fact sheets on other FCC Universal Service programs on the FCC Web site.
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