Several programs are available to assist you, whether you’re a senior looking for help with utilities or an adult who wants to help your children get through school. These programs vary in scope and eligibility, but the main thing to know is some requirements and qualifications. You will also need to know about these programs’ budgets and recertification processes.
Table of Contents
Taking advantage of the Lifeline assistance program is a good idea, especially if you are low-income. The program provides you with a monthly credit on your local phone bill. You can also get discounts on your internet-capable devices.
Several Lifeline programs and benefits range from a discount on your home phone to a free cell phone. There are seven states where you can receive this federal benefit: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The program also operates in Puerto Rico and American Samoa. The best part about this program is that it does not require you to have a job. You can apply for this benefit on your own or ask your current service provider if they are participating in the program.
Minimum Service Standards
Applicants to the Lifeline assistance program must meet the minimum service standards set annually by the Federal Communications Commission. This includes fixed and mobile broadband users. If the service provider provides wireless broadband, they may not charge additional tethering fees to users.
In 2016, the Federal Communications Commission established minimum service standards for Lifeline-supported broadband services. The order also established a National Eligibility Verifier, which makes independent subscriber eligibility determinations. The National Eligibility Verifier will soft launch in Arizona and Virginia. The Verifier will also be used to determine eligibility in the state of California.
The Lifeline program has disbursed over $1B in support in the last five years. In addition to Lifeline’s new budget, the Wireline Competition Bureau has also released an updated speed/usage allowance for Lifeline-supported services. This is an important milestone in the ongoing battle between the wires and the yoofs. The budget for the Lifeline program has been renamed the Universal Service Fund to reflect the program’s mission better. The USF’s current budget is approximately 2% of the overall Lifeline budget. The program will benefit from an increase in federal universal service support by 2.57 billion dollars in the calendar year 2023. For the low-income, the resulting support will be used to help ensure a better future for low-income consumers and their families.
Among other things, the Lifeline assistance program provides eligible low-income consumers a discount on phone service. However, the program is non-transferable. A consumer can only take advantage of one Lifeline discount per household. This ensures that all Americans have access to phone service.
Eligible telecommunications carriers must collect and retain subscriber eligibility documentation. They must also describe the service in easy-to-understand language. They must describe the service as being available in the state where they operate. They must explain to subscribers that information will be transmitted to the Administrator. They must also verify that a prospective subscriber has received a Link Up benefit. If the carrier finds the subscriber eligible for Lifeline support, it must de-enroll the subscriber within five business days.
If an eligible telecommunications carrier fails to comply with a requirement, it must notify the Administrator. It must also notify the Universal Service Administrative Company. The Universal Service Administrative Company is responsible for disbursing the low-income program. It will calculate the support and make payment.
Seniors and Survivors of Domestic Violence
During the last few months of 2017, the Administration proposed cutting victim services funding by over ten percent. While this is a step in the right direction, the Biden-Harris Administration must do more to tame the nexus of gender-based violence. Fortunately, there are still things to look forward to shortly.
One of the most significant changes being made to federal policy is the Lifeline assistance program for seniors and survivors of domestic violence. This program will provide survivors with the tools they need to get by. For instance, survivors of domestic violence often experience financial abuse as well as sexual abuse. In addition, they are often stuck in abusive relationships, increasing the risk of homelessness and facing a downward spiral of abuse.
The most important part of the Lifeline assistance program for seniors and survivors is its financial security component. As a bonus, survivors will be able to take advantage of services that can prevent or defuse abuse before it starts.
Whether you are a new or existing Lifeline subscriber, you may need to recertify your eligibility to receive your Lifeline discount. This is important because you need to recertify your eligibility to be removed from the program. Lifeline is a government-funded discount program that can be used for free telephone services, including wireless, broadband Internet, and home voice. You may also qualify for medical services and emergency services.
To ensure you receive your discount, you must recertify your eligibility annually. This can be done online using the National Verifier web portal or the interactive voice response (IVR) system. During the process, you will receive up to three pre-recorded messages and a postcard. You will also receive an application ID.
You will also be able to view your subscriptions in the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) to check your status. The NLAD will notify you if you are eligible or not.