Internet services are a necessity in today’s time, but most households cannot have access to it due to their financial inefficiency. To help such people afford basic internet devices and services, the United States government has initiated several assistance programs such as Lifeline Assistance Program and Affordable Connectivity Program.
This article covers detailed information about the Lifeline Assistance Program, the eligibility criteria, the enrollment process, additional perks, and more.
So, without any further ado, let’s get started –
Lifeline Assistance Program
Lifeline Assistance is a United States Federal Government program funded and administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company, aka USAC. The organization, USAC, is entirely responsible for collecting and maintaining all the data generated through this program and supporting, calculating, and distributing all of the perks of this program to eligible applicants.
This program was originally launched in 1985 to provide discounted phone services to low-income US households so that they could afford all of the latest technologies and stay connected with all of the essential services and their loved ones. The program aims to help people find good job opportunities, complete their education, and more.
Since the program is a federally funded program that uses the Universal Service Fund, it is available throughout the United States, including Tribal lands.
In a recent amendment in the Commission that took place on March 31, 2016, the Commission adopted a modernization order of the Lifeline Assistance Program, where they included broadband services as a support service in the program.
In addition to that, the Commission also established National Eligibility Verifier, a standalone platform that can help US households individually verify whether they are eligible for Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program.
Who are eligible for the Lifeline Assistance Program?
As stated above, Lifeline Assistance Program primarily caters to low-income US households, providing them access to free internet and telecommunication services and a free smartphone. Therefore, when you apply for the program, they primarily verify whether you are really from a low-income background or not.
There are two ways you can prove your eligibility for the program –
A very simple and straightforward way to check whether you are Lifeline-eligible is by checking your household’s annual income. As of now, if your household’s annual income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, you are eligible for the Lifeline program.
Alternatively, you can also be eligible for the Lifeline program if you participate in any of the below-mentioned Government funded programs.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Tribal-specific programs: Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), Head Start
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit Programs
If you participate in any of the aforementioned programs, you can easily apply for the Lifeline program and get accepted to receive benefits.
Required Documents to prove that you are Lifeline Program Eligible
Just knowing that you are eligible for the program doesn’t help you receive Lifeline benefits. You will also need to prove your eligibility by furnishing valid official documents and submitting them during your application process.
The documents you will need depend on the category you fall into while you apply for the program.
The accepted documents are –
Income Verifying Documents
If you qualify on a low-income basis, you need to submit a document that shows your full name and your income.
The accepted official documents are –
- Current income statement from your employer
- Paycheck stubs
- Child support award
- A retirement/pension statement of benefits
- A Social Security statement of benefits
- Divorce decree
- Previous year’s federal, state, or Tribal tax return
- Veterans Administration statement of benefits
- Unemployment or Worker’s Compensation statement of benefits
Program Participation Documents
If you qualify for the Lifeline program on the basis of your participation in a Government funded program, you will have to submit a document that shows your name, program name, participation date, name of the authority issuing that document, and more.
The officially accepted documents are –
- Government Approval Letter
- Benefit award letter
- Statement of benefits
- Benefit verification letter
Apart from the eligibility documents, you will also be asked to verify your age, identity, or address. In such a case, you can submit any of the following documents –
- A valid state, Government, military, or Tribal ID
- Certificate of US Citizenship or Naturalization
- Mortgage or lease statement
- Most recent W-2 or tax return
- US Driver’s license
- Birth Certificate
- Permanent Resident Card or Green Card
- Utility bill
It is also important to note that you need to submit a soft copy of your eligibility documentation or a duplicate rather than the original one during the application process.
Benefits you will receive if your Lifeline Assistance Program application gets accepted
When you qualify for the Lifeline Assistance Program, you will be qualified to receive several amazing benefits, which include –
- A free smartphone
- 1000 minutes
- 4.5 GB of Monthly Data
- Fixed Broadband Allowance of 1229 GB per month
How to apply for Lifeline Assistance Program
There are two ways you can apply for Lifeline Assistance Program – You can apply from National Verifier’s website, or you can apply directly at your preferred Lifeline-participating network service provider or MVNOs.
Below, we have covered a guide that you can follow to apply for Lifeline Assistance Program from National Verifier’s website –
Visit National Verifier’s Website
First of all, visit the National Verifier’s website. You can redirect to that page by clicking on this link.
Select Your State
Now, from the drop-down menu, select your home state and click on the Get Started button.
Enter Your Information
The Lifeline application form will appear. Simply fill out the form with all of the information asked and proceed further.
Upload Your Documents
It will ask you to submit all of the eligibility supporting documents along with your identification documents. Upload soft copies of the documents and proceed further.
Submit Your Application
Lastly, it will ask you to accept the Terms & conditions of the program and submit your application request.
That’s it. This is how you can apply for Lifeline Assistance Program very easily.
If your application is approved, you will get the National Verifier’s application ID number to your registered email address. You can use this ID number to apply for the benefits of the Lifeline Assistance Program at participating network service providers.
Free Available Phones Through Lifeline Assistance Program
Since there are so many Lifeline participating network service providers out there, you can get phone models that vary from provider to provider. You can even get free 5G phones with the Lifeline Assistance Program.
Below, we have covered the mobile phones that you can currently get through the Lifeline program –
Free Government iPhones Through Lifeline
Yes, you can get free Government iPhones through the Lifeline program. There are several network service providers that include iPhones in their list of free Lifeline phones.
The iPhone models that are currently available through the Lifeline program are –