How to Qualify and Apply for the LIfeline Program


Lifeline is a program that allows low income households to receive discounted telephone services, in order to help them make ends meet each month. For most Americans, having a telephone is a necessity. A telephone is a link to the outside world, often times a necessity in landing a job. It is also something that is relied upon for emergencies, and when a family is in the low income bracket, it can be a difficult bill to manage each month. The following is how an individual can determine if they are eligible for the Lifeline program, and also how they can apply for this federal program.

In order to be eligible for Lifeline benefits, a person must first see if their state is a federal default state. These states include Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Dakota and South Dakota. For individuals who reside in a federal default state, an individual must be enrolled in one of the following federal programs in order to be eligible for Lifeline service: Federal Public Housing Assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Medicaid, National School Lunch Program, Supplemental Security Income and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Also, an individual can be deemed eligible if their household income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty line.

If a person does not reside in a federal default state, then they must check with their own individual state government to determine if they are eligible for the Lifeline program. Some states have eligibility based on income, while others determine eligibility based on the enrollment in other state assistance programs, such as food assistance or other low income programs.

The application process for the Lifeline program varies by state. In some states, a person who is eligible will have to contact their local telephone company directly in order to get set up with the program. Other states requires eligible individuals to apply through a designated state agency, or through a designated third party agency.

For individuals who are struggling each month to get by, the Lifeline program may be just the program that helps them have a bit of extra breathing room in the monthly budget. A working telephone has become a necessity in today's society, needed in order to keep a steady job, to ensure that your family is safe so that authorities or medical professionals can be contacted in the case of an emergency, and to contact schools, doctors offices and other organizations that families need to be in contact with regularly. It is important that families that are looking into this program research exactly what the eligibility requirements are for their individual state, and that they complete the application process required for the state that they reside in. Eligible individuals will ultimately receive discounted rates on a telephone line in their home.

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