Every person in America should have access to quality, affordable telecommunications service.  This principle of “Universal Service “ has been the goal of the telecommunications industry for decades.  In 1934, Congress made the goal a law and reaffirmed it in 1996 by establishing policies for the “preservation and advancement of Universal Service.”

To achieve the Universal Service goal, telephone companies have access to a fund that is generated by contributions from the telecommunications providers in the United States.  Telephone companies draw from the fund to provide two programs that support telecommunications services nationwide.  Lifeline Assistance Program (Lifeline) is part of the Fund’s Low-Income Program and are described in detail below.

Lifeline support provides discounts to eligible low-income consumers to help them maintain telephone service.

What type of discount is available?

Lifeline assistance lowers the cost of basic  monthly local telephone service. Eligible consumers will receive a discount of $9.25 and an additional state discount established by the Arkansas Public Service Commission. The rate for local monthly service, which includes unlimited local calling is $21.30. Additional charges for toll calls associated with the stand alone residential access line are billed at the rates of the long distance carrier chosen by the subscriber.

How do I know whether I am eligible?

Eligibility for Lifeline and Link-Up support depends on eligibility.  Individuals are eligible if he or she participates (or the household) in one of the following programs:

  • Food Stamps or Supplemental Nurtrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA or Section 8)
  • Veteran’s Pension or Survivor’s Benefit Program

In addition, a consumer may be eligible if his or her household income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines:

2013 Estimated Income Requirements for a Household at or Below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines

Persons in 48 Contiguous Family Unit States and D.C.

1 – $15,889

2 – $21,505

3 – $27,121

4- $32,737

How do I apply for Lifeline Service and receive the discounts?