The FCC's Lifeline program helps make voice and broadband services more affordable for qualifying low-income consumers by providing a discount on voice and broadband services to ensure that all Americans have the opportunities and security that voice and broadband services bring, including being able to connect to jobs, family and emergency services. Lifeline is part of the Universal Service Fund administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) and is available to eligible low-income consumers in every state, territory, commonwealth, and on Tribal lands. USAC's website provides information regarding the administrative aspects of the Lifeline program, as well as program requirements.
The Commission has taken steps to ensure eligible low-income consumers have access to the program by creating a National Verifier to improve program integrity and by implementing gradually increasing minimum service standards. The National Verifier is a centralized database that verifies Lifeline subscriber eligibility, conducts checks to prevent duplicate benefits, recertifies subscriber eligibility, and calculates support payments. As of July 2019, the National Verifier has fully launched in 27 states and territories.
The FCC's Enforcement Bureau maintains a dedicated Lifeline Fraud Tip Line – 1-855-4LL-TIPS (or 1-855-455-8477) – and an email address – Lifelinetips@fcc.gov – to facilitate reporting of possible fraud in the program.
- Lifeline support is available to eligible low-income subscribers in every state, territory, commonwealth, and on Tribal lands. To participate in the program, subscribers must either have an income that is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines or participate in certain assistance programs.
- Currently, interested consumers apply for Lifeline through a Lifeline Program provider in their state or through a designated state agency or through the federal National Eligibility Verifier. To find out if the National Verifier is active in a particular state, consumers can visit checklifeline.org. To locate a Lifeline provider, go to www.lifelinesupport.org, or call USAC's toll-free number (1-888-641-8722). Lifeline applicants will be required to provide certain information to the provider, state agency or through the federal National Eligibility Verifier, when active (depending how subscribers in their state sign up for Lifeline).
- The Lifeline discount on qualifying monthly voice and/or broadband service for eligible subscribers is $9.25 per month, with up to an additional $25 per month for qualifying Tribal subscribers. Supported services must meet the minimum service standards.