How Lifeline Can Help You Cut Phone Costs Now

Has COVID-19 put a squeeze on your finances? Sign up for the FCC’s Lifeline program, and you can create wiggle room in your budget by cutting phone costs.

Since the coronavirus caused many businesses to shut down, every single dollar counts more than ever before. As you look at your monthly costs to find sources of savings, you may realize that you’re paying too much for your landline or cell phone.

How can you cut these costs? Via Lifeline, a program from the FCC that was created to make communications services more accessible for those with low income.

Let’s take a closer look at how Lifeline works, and how you can get started.

What does Lifeline do?

The program offers discount phone service to those who are eligible. Some subscribers can receive free phones and service, while others can receive a discount (up to $9.25) towards their bill to make their phone plans more affordable.

Does Lifeline only deal with phones?

No, as it also offers discounts on voice-broadband service and broadband Internet.

Can you receive both phone and Internet benefits through Lifeline?

No, as your household will have to choose between one or the other. If you select phone service, you will also have to choose between landline or cell phone service.

Is everyone eligible for Lifeline?

No, as it was created to help low-income consumers. As such, you will have to show documentation to show that you meet the program’s requirements. These requirements can be either income-based or program-based.

To qualify via income-based requirements, you will have to earn 135 percent or less than the federal poverty guidelines. Proof of your income can come in the form of pay stubs or a tax return.

If you or someone in your household (including children or dependents) already receives assistance in the form of Section 8, SNAP, WIC, SSI, or other benefits, for example, you may qualify for Lifeline.

How can you find out if you’re eligible for Lifeline?

Go here to determine your eligibility.

How can you apply for Lifeline?

Go here to begin the application process. When you apply, it’s important to remember to be truthful. If more than one person in your household is signed up for Lifeline, it could result in civil or criminal penalties. The program will check to see that there is only one beneficiary per household.

You can either mail your application or complete it online. The benefit of an online application is that it could result in immediate approval, which can help you enjoy Lifeline’s benefits much sooner.

Caitlin Fischer

Guided by her own family experiences, Caitlin infuses her work with a sense of empathy and encouragement that helps retired adults and their loved ones navigate complex issues. She has a master's degree in English and almost 28 years of experience as a writer and researcher, including on topics like aging, senior health, care options, activities, and more. She also writes about subjects that affect college students and job seekers.