What is Included in a Lifeline Program?

What is Included in a Lifeline Program?

If you are looking to get a Lifeline program, you will need to make sure that you are aware of the features included in the program. This includes toll blocking, resale ETP, and monthly discounts. These features are very useful to help you save money on your wireless bill.

Toll Blocking

Lifeline is a government program that provides telecommunications services to low-income individuals at reduced rates. The Texas lifeline program is designed to help make monthly broadband and voice service more affordable for eligible customers. Some features of the program include free toll-blocking and text messaging.

In Texas, toll blocking is available at no additional cost to qualifying Lifeline customers. Lifeline providers must implement this feature for customers who are enrolled in the program. To implement this feature, a tariff must be filed with the Telecommunications Universal Service Fund (TUSF) administrator.

Toll blocking is a feature that can be turned on or off. If a customer is enrolled in the toll-blocking feature, they will not be able to make outgoing long-distance calls that use 0+ or 1+ digits. However, they will still be able to use their phone to make local calls.

Customers are required to recertify their eligibility for Lifeline service annually. In Texas, the Lifeline program offers free talk, text, and data. It is part of the Affordable Connectivity Program. As of December 2, 2016, the service no longer qualifies for a federal discount of $9.25.

Lifeline providers have 30 days to begin providing reduced billing to eligible customers. They must also submit an updated tariff to the TUSF administrator.

Resale ETP

A Resale ETP in Texas may not be as glamorous as its national counterpart, but it is not as bad as it sounds. To start with, there’s the TUSF above and an array of local exchange carriers and wireless providers. These companies are tasked with providing basic telecommunications services at a reasonable price for low-income families and individuals in need. This is accomplished through a combination of state-level and federal monies.

Monthly Discount

If you need an inexpensive phone or broadband service in Texas, you may save a few monthly dollars by using the Lifeline program. This discount is available to eligible consumers who participate in federally funded programs.

The program provides low-cost telecommunications services to low-income households below the poverty guidelines. Applicants can find out if they qualify for the program through the National Verifier. You can also find out your eligibility by checking your utility bill.

Another nifty thing about the Lifeline program is that it can be applied to your wireless telephone or data plan. Some providers will even offer an initial wireless device. As long as you meet the eligibility requirements, you can receive a free smartphone, up to 12.5 gigabytes of 4G/LTE data, and unlimited talk.

A similar benefit, the Affordable Connectivity Program, provides a monthly discount on broadband Internet service. In Texas, it offers a discount of up to $30.

There are many other broadband programs available. These include services offered by nonprofits and other service providers. 

Despite the name, the Lifeline program is only available to households. Households are defined as individuals who live together at the same address. Typically, one household per income level will qualify.

The Lifeline program’s most important feature is its ability to lower your monthly phone and broadband bill. It is also a good idea to look into other low-cost programs available in your area.

You must complete an application and certification to apply for the Lifeline program. Applicants can either complete an online application or get a mail-in form. They will also need proof of eligibility, such as a pay stub or tax return.

The Lifeline program can help lower your monthly bills, but it’s wise to check with your provider before signing up. Even if you’re eligible, you may need to pay for a service that is not included in the discount.

ACP and Lifeline 

Several government assistance programs are available to help consumers receive free cell phones and other services. These include Lifeline, Medicaid, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children, and Tribal TANF. The eligibility for these services varies depending on the household, income, and other factors. If you are eligible, you can sign up for both programs simultaneously.

To qualify for Lifeline, a household must meet certain guidelines. For instance, the income level must be below the 135% Federal Poverty Guideline. Other documents that may be used to prove the household’s eligibility include tax returns, pay stubs, and other proof.

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is another type of federal program. It offers discounts on monthly broadband Internet access service to qualifying low-income households. The Federal Communications Commission funds this program.

If you do not qualify for the ACP, you can still apply for the Lifeline program. You can get a phone and internet service discount through the Lifeline program.

Applicants can apply online or by mail. Some providers have streamlined the application process. An online application is usually approved immediately. However, you might need to provide additional documentation in the form of a cover sheet or a mailing list. Alternatively, you can request that your ISP walk you through the application process.

When applying for these services, you must provide proof of your income. Depending on your provider, you might be asked to provide pay stubs or other documents.

Those who qualify for Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program can combine these benefits. This is a great way to reduce the monthly cost of cell phone and broadband service in Texas.

By John Toroff
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