It might come as a surprise to you, but you are not the only one who is struggling to pay bills. Nowadays, everything is expensive and all the helpful tips you find are telling you to find a “side hustle” or to “work on your budget.” However, no matter what kind of changes you try to apply to your lifestyle, it might still be difficult to pay your bills. This is where federal support programs can lend a hand.
If you are in a tight spot, then chances are that you can find a federal program to help you! One underrated program would be the Lifeline Program from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It offers assistance in making phone or internet services affordable. This might not seem like much, but whatever help you can find, right? We are going to tell you more about the Lifeline Program and how you can apply for benefits!
The Process of the Lifeline Program
This federal program offers monthly discounts for internet and phone services for each family. Keep in mind that the federal government only offers a maximum of one Lifeline service for every eligible family. There are two types of monthly discounts from the program, which are:
- Monthly discount up to $9.25
- Monthly discount up to $34.25 (if you live in tribal lands)
The main point is to make services affordable such as wired/wireless services and broadband internet/voice services. If you want to get Lifeline benefits, then you should meet eligibility conditions like participating in a qualifying federal program or meeting income requirements. Also, you should show that you can qualify and recertify to keep your benefits. If you don’t show that you qualify or recertify, then you won’t be able to take or keep your benefits. An important agency that manages and administers the Lifeline Program is the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). Some of their responsibilities are:
- Finding out who qualifies for Lifeline benefits
- Supporting and helping recipients
- Offering free information on the program
- Helping with the recertification process
You should also know that you need to meet the household eligibility requirement, according to the FCC’s definition. To make sure that you qualify, you can always use the free tools of the program. The definition of household, according to the FCC, is “an individual or a group of individuals that live/reside at the same address as a singular economic unit.” This basically means that a household would be people that share and contribute to the expenses of the house as one unit.
Applying for The Lifeline Program
If you want to know whether you qualify or not, you can simply look it up through the Lifeline website. Furthermore, you can contact the Lifeline Support Center through their toll-free number or email at 1-800-234-9473 or [email protected]. To know more about the application process, then you can figure out how to use the portal online.
There are several ways to apply for the Lifeline Program, but the easiest way is by using the online National Verifier portal. This system can let the FCC know every applicant’s current situation and eligibility status. The USAC is in charge of this system’s operation. Furthermore, there are certain documents that you need to present, such as a document/notice letter of participation from a qualifying federal program and income verification forms.
What to Know About Tribal Land Lifeline Benefits
Tribal Lands Link Up offers financing opportunities when service fees are over $200 like a zero-interest payment plan for one year. Furthermore, there are additional benefits that come with Tribal Land Lifeline, which includes an additional one-time discount that reaches $100. However, only some carriers offer Tribal Lands Link Up. That’s why you need to make sure that you choose the right carrier to get your service from.
Furthermore, if a recipient goes through phone installation or activation for the first time, then they could receive an extra one-time discount.
Is It Necessary To Constantly Confirm That I Qualify?
Yes, you have to constantly confirm during the recertification process. If you find out that you do not qualify for the Lifeline Program anymore, then you should dis-enroll as soon as you can to avoid paying fines. When you apply the first time, you should show that you qualify. After that, you should keep confirming every year to keep your benefits. However, if your income increases, another family member participates in the Lifeline program, or you don’t get benefits anymore from a qualifying program, then you could no longer qualify. That is why you need to constantly prove your eligibility status to the program.
If You Have a Disability and Need Help To Apply, Then What Can You Do?
If you want to contact the Disability Rights office, there are many ways you can. That includes calling them at 202-418-2517, for a video call at 844-432-2275, or through email at [email protected]. Also, the Support Center can help you with any information you need about the benefits you get from the program.
The Lifeline program is a useful way to “work on your budget.” You will be able to get a discount for your family on internet/phone services each month. Nowadays, you can do pretty much anything on the internet and more people find themselves relying on the internet with each passing day! So, these benefits could actually make life easier for you in more ways than one. Not anyone can get benefits, though. There are eligibility requirements that you need to consider. If you want to know more or start applying, then you can do it online or on the phone. You can visit the online National Verifier portal or contact the Lifeline Support Center toll-free number at 1-800-234-9473. To qualify, you would need to meet the household requirement and the income requirement. Another way to possibly qualify would be already participating in federal programs like Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, and more! Don’t worry: things will look up and you might be able to pay your bills stress-free!