The Lifeline program started by the FCC, or Federal Communications Commission in 1985, is a blessing for low-income people who cannot afford a cell phone. Offering phone services at extensive discounts has made them available to a large number of people. According to an estimate, almost 6.9 million people are enrolled in the program. From Veterans Pension to those whose income is below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, this service has benefited everybody. How can you apply for a free phone with plan service if you are eligible for it? Are there any rules regarding it? Read on to find out.
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Rules of the Lifeline program
There are some rules of the Lifeline program, which apply to everybody wanting to benefit from it. It is available only to those whose eligibility can be verified by checking the program eligibility base or submitting the required documents. Each household must have just one service, and if there is more than one, it should be discontinued voluntarily. The eligibility conditions have to be verified and rechecked every year. Once while joining the program, and every year after that as long as you enjoy the service. If you are ineligible, you should contact the provider immediately to avoid facing penalties. If the National Verifier’s or state Lifeline administrator requests their eligibility, consumers are bound to fulfill them.
Ways to Apply for the Lifeline Phone Program
Apply Directly through Online Portal
You can apply for the discounted service program online through the National Verifier online portal. Once you visit the website, enter your information, create an account and see if you qualify. If you do, there will be 90 days in which you have to select a service provider. The other option is to ask your provider to apply the Lifeline program to the current service being provided by them.
Mail the Application Form
If you want to apply offline since you face problems online, you can do so with a form available at the National Verifier online portal. Enter the website, select your state or territory and download the application form. Enter your information like your legal name, date of birth, email address, last four numbers of your Social Security Number (SSN), and agreement acceptance. After filling the form, please mail it to the address mentioned on the website.
Apply with a Lifeline Service Provider
You can also apply for a Lifeline program service provider by visiting them in person at their store or via their website. Companies that offer these services are mentioned on the USAC (Universal Administrative Company Co) website.
What if the Documents are Not Verified Online?
Suppose the National Verifier cannot verify the consumers’ eligibility online through automated data sources. In that case, they will have to provide documents through the consumer portal or mail them to the Lifeline Support Center. The concerned body will conduct a manual review process to determine the eligibility of the consumer. You will have to give your name and the qualifying program of which you are a recipient and a statement of benefits that have been issued in the last twelve months. Other documents required for income verification include the previous year’s tax return, current income statement, or anything else that contains income information.
Errors while Filling the Application
You might encounter errors while filling out the application forms online. In that case, you will need to provide additional information depending on the type of error. For example, for an AMS or Address Verification Error, the body will need proof of residential address. If the error shows a deceased subscriber, evidence of life will be required. When the error says duplicate address, the particular document required will be a household worksheet. However, you should always give copies of your documents, and never the original ones.
Knowing Lifeline’s free phone with a plan service’s rules and the application process will help you enjoy it smoothly without any hassles. They will also help you out if you find yourself stuck anywhere.