Who Qualifies For Free Lifeline Phone Service?

Those eligible for the Lifeline program are not the only ones who can benefit from it. There are a lot of people who cannot afford a cell phone at all but still find it necessary to be able to contact their loved ones. With a free Lifeline phone, they can do just that.

Affordable Connectivity Program

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a United States government-sponsored initiative to help low-income households pay for high-speed internet service. The Federal Communications Commission administers it. As of mid-November, 15 million households have signed up to receive the benefit. The Affordable Connectivity Program provides qualifying households with a monthly discount on their high-speed internet service. Participants can also use this discount to pay for related equipment charges. Congress established the program to ensure that broadband is affordable to all Americans. Several internet providers have signed on to participate in the program. 

The ACP program focuses on households that are historically unserved or underserved. This includes those at or below the 200% Federal Poverty Line, which is set to rise to 200% by 2022. In addition, the program helps households that are connected to virtual classrooms, healthcare, or jobs. Currently, the Affordable Connectivity Program offers a $30 discount on high-speed internet for eligible households. However, the discount is limited to one per household.

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Coverage Limitations Of Wireless Mobile Phones

The coverage limitations of wireless mobile phones for Lifeline service providers can be mind-boggling. Although a company’s wireless offerings are certainly an incentive to sign up for their services, they can be a stumbling block if you’re not careful. As a result, you’re probably looking for a guide to wireless coverage in your area. Thankfully, there are a few resources to help you narrow down your choices. One of the best sources of data is the customer service department at your local wireless provider. A good representative can answer any questions regarding coverage, pricing, and service quality. In fact, they might be able to find you a new wireless provider for a price well below your current bill. If your provider of choice doesn’t offer a plan suited to your needs, consider looking for a refurbished device. While you’ll unlikely buy an iPhone X for a mere $250, you might find a device with a similar price tag on a secondhand market. However, if you’re in the market for a wireless handset, you’ll want to ensure that your refurbished phone is in top-notch condition.

Re-Certification Rules

To stay in the Lifeline phone service program, subscribers must recertify their eligibility every year. The process can be done by mail or online. If subscribers fail to complete the re-certification process, they will be de-enrolled from the program. To find out what is required to recertify your Lifeline eligibility, check with your state’s Lifeline administrator. Some states require that you use a specific recertification form. Others require that you recertify your eligibility using a national form approved by the Wireline Competition Bureau. The National Lifeline Accountability Database can be used to verify a subscriber’s eligibility. There are also eligibility databases at the local level. Your eligible telecommunications carrier may also query these databases to determine your eligibility. If you participate in the Lifeline program, you will be contacted by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) regarding your status. When you receive a notification, you must recertify your eligibility within 60 days. However, the National Verifier has a process that will verify your eligibility in a hurry.

NPRM Reforms 

The Lifeline/Link Up program is being revamped and will ensure affordable phone service for millions of low-income Americans. These reforms will include a modernized program and an enhanced oversight system. This will eliminate waste and make the program more accountable. It will also reduce incentives for fraud and abuse. The Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) has released a Public Notice announcing updated Lifeline minimum service standards. The bureau has set a July 2, 2012, deadline for submitting comments. WCB also guides the roll-up recertification process. As part of the overhaul, the Bureau has announced new indexes for the Lifeline budget. In addition, it has paused the Lifeline phase-out. WCB has also issued a reminder to carriers about the eligibility requirements of the program.

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Extends the deadline for subscribers

The Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB) has extended the deadline for Boomerang Wireless, LLC to notify, de-enroll, and transition its Lifeline subscribers. However, it is not a waiver of the rules for involuntary de-enrollment.

This extension is the result of a petition filed by the National Hispanic Media Coalition, which requested a pause in the comment period. It is a temporary waiver to implement federal streamlined eligibility programs.

The WCB granted the request but denied the request to review the decisions of the Universal Service Administrative Corporation (USAC). These two petitions for a waiver of the rules were among several petitions rejected by the WCB. The WCB also approved a compliance plan for Consumer Cellular. They are seeking permission to become a Lifeline-only eligible telecommunications carrier. The Wireline Competition Bureau has updated the minimum service standards for Lifeline-supported services. It also provided additional information about the Connected Care Pilot Program. Specifically, it focused on the benefits of the program for low-income patients.