Lifeline Telephone and Broadband Discount Program

Lifeline

Lifeline is a program of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that provides a discount on telephone and broadband service for qualifying low-income consumers. Lifeline was started to ensure that all Americans have the opportunities and security that telephone and broadband service bring, including being able to connect to jobs, family and emergency services.

Lifeline offers a discount of $5.25 per month each for stand-alone voice service. The program can only be used for the primary phone line in a household (cellular or landline, but not both). If you choose cellular phone service, the discount applies for up to 1,000 minutes.

Lifeline offers a discount of $9.25 per month for fixed broadband service. The minimum service standard for fixed broadband is 20 Mbps / 3Mbps. If a customer is subscribed to a qualifying bundle which includes voice and broadband that meets the minimum service standards, the discount can be moved to the broadband portion of the bundle and the discount will be $9.25 per month.

You must establish service before you can apply for the Lifeline discount. The name on the phone bill must match the name of the household member participating in the eligible program (see list below). Being a Lifeline customer does not protect you from being disconnected if you fail to pay your telephone bill. Discounts cannot be applied to an outstanding balance owed to your service provider.

Telephone companies serving the majority of West Virginia offer the program. You can apply for Lifeline by contacting your local telephone company or internet service provider to find out if they participate in the program or click on the following link:

https://data.usac.org/publicreports/CompaniesNearMe/Download/Report

Eligibility

If you qualify for any of the following programs, you will also qualify for Lifeline:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), program previously known as Food Stamps
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Medicaid
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit Programs
  • Tribal-Specific Programs: Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribally- Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), Tribal Head Start

Emergency Broadband Benefit

On May 12, 2021, the FCC introduced the Broadband Emergency Benefit Program, a temporary program to help make broadband services more affordable. This program provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for qualifying low-income households. Those who qualify may also receive a one-time discount of $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet from participating providers if they meet certain conditions. This program is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

Click here to see if your household qualifies for the Broadband Emergency Benefit:
https://getemergencybroadband.org/do-i-qualify/

There are three ways to apply.

  • You can contact your broadband provider and ask about their application process
  • Visit https://getemergencybroadband.org/ to find participating providers and/or apply online; or,
  • Call 833-511-0311 to request a mail-in application.

The program will end once the program funds are exhausted, or six months after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the pandemic, whichever comes first.

 

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