Are you looking for free landline phone service with internet? Through the Lifeline program, the Federal government connects low-income families to landline phone services and free internet. All that’s required is a qualification for Lifeline assistance.
But how do you get free landline phone service? Who provides free landline services with internet? Do you need to apply for it? How? This article discusses everything you should know about free landline phone services and internet access.
- How to Get Free Landline Phone Service with Internet Via Lifeline
- Lifeline Qualification Criteria
- How to Apply for Free Landline Phone Service with Internet
- What Documents Do I Need to Get Free Landline Phone Service with Internet
- Benefits of Getting Lifeline Free Landline Phone Services with Internet
- The Bottom Line
- You Might Also Like
- Frequently Asked Questions
How to Get Free Landline Phone Service with Internet Via Lifeline
Did you know that you can get free landline phone service with internet through Lifeline? The Federal government established the Lifeline program in 1985 to provide free landline phone services to eligible low-income families.
The program is available across the United States in all states, territories, commonwealth, and Tribal Lands. Its main goal is to enable Americans to stay connected with family, friends, emergency services, and jobs.
Besides landline phone services, the Lifeline program offers internet connectivity to needy families. Users enjoy broadband and wireless internet with speeds of up to 25Mbps, depending on the provider.
The Lifeline program is part of the Universal Service Fund established by the Federal Communications Commission to subsidize landline and mobile phone services. Through it, low-income families have access to free or affordable phone services.
Lifeline Assistance has grown from humble beginnings to a program that provides connectivity for numerous people annually. It has operated in all states since 1997 and has supplied cell phone and landline services since 2005.
Lifeline Qualification Criteria
To qualify for Lifeline assistance, you need an income of up to 135% of prevailing poverty guidelines. You may also be eligible if you participate in Lifeline-eligible programs in general areas or Tribal Lands. Here is a detailed description of the different ways of qualifying for Lifeline Assistance:
1. Income-Based Qualification
You may qualify for Lifeline assistance if your income is under 135% of poverty guidelines. Poverty guidelines may change with time or place. That’s why you always need to check with your state government to know the prevailing poverty guidelines. The following are the 2022 poverty guidelines for the United States and the corresponding Lifeline income thresholds:
|No. of persons in a family or household||Poverty guidelines in 48 states and Washington DC||Lifeline Income Thresholds in 48 States and Washington DC||Poverty guidelines in Hawaii||Lifeline income thresholds in Hawaii||Poverty guideline in Alaska||Lifeline income thresholds in Alaska|
|Additional income due to each extra member||$4,720||$6,372||$5,430||$7,060||$5,900||$7,965|
Poverty guidelines are different depending on where you live in the United States. In 48 states and Washington, DC, the poverty guidelines are similar. Thus, a three-member family in these regions requires an income of up to $31,091 to get Lifeline Assistance. A four-member household in the same area needs an income of up to $37,463. The Difference between the two is $6,372, representing an increase in revenue due to an additional family member.
In Hawaii, residents have a completely different set of poverty guidelines. A three-member Hawaiian family requires an income under $35,762 to get free landline phone service with the internet. On the other hand, a four-member Hawaiian family needs an income of up to $43,092. That represents a difference of $7,060 due to the additional family member.
The poverty guidelines in Alaska are the most accommodating, making it easier for residents to qualify for free landline service with the internet. A three-member family in Alaska requires a maximum annual income of $38,367 to get Lifeline assistance. With four members, the family would need an income of up to $46,832 to get free landline phone services. The increase in income limits due to an additional member is $7,965.
2. Participation in Lifeline Eligible Assistance Programs
Did you know that you can get free landline service with the internet by participating in a government assistance program? Many of these assistance programs have existed for years. However, many people do not understand them. The following are some of the most common Lifeline-eligible programs:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI): If you have a disabled adult or child in your household, the chances are that they benefit from SSI if they meet certain income thresholds. With official SSI documentation, you can qualify for Lifeline Assistance.
- Medicaid: Many low-income families in the United States benefit from Medicaid. Through the program, the Federal government pays medical bills for needy families. Your road to Lifeline assistance is paved if you enjoy such benefits.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Do you have an Electronic Benefit Funds Transfer Card for purchasing food from designated stores? The chances are that you benefit from SNAP and could qualify for Lifeline Assistance and all the attendant advantages.
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit: Disabled or aged wartime veterans who get a pension from the government could use it to apply for the Lifeline program. Similarly, families of diseased wartime veterans who get government benefits could do the same.
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF): Due to unforeseen circumstances, parents may find it impossible to provide for their families. Such parents get quick assistance from the government until they are back on their feet. When the aid is in force, the families can qualify for Lifeline Assistance.
- Federal Public Housing Assistance: Anyone who gets help from the government for rent payments may benefit from free landline phone services. All you need is to prove that you benefit from the program.
3. Participation in Tribal Assistance Programs
People living on Indian reservations have special assistance programs that aim to give them a better life. These families can get free landline phones with internet if they participate in any of the following programs:
- Bureau of Indian Affairs Assistance: This program helps needy Tribal families with food, clothing, and shelter support. Since these families have low-income status, they are eligible for Lifeline Assistance.
- Tribal Head Start: The Head Start program is for Tribal children who are most disadvantaged in their quest for education. The program gives the children free meals, structured learning experiences, and round-trip transport. Families can take advantage of participation in the program to get Lifeline assistance.
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR): The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) expends free food distribution services in Tribal Lands. Any family that benefits from the program can also get free landline phone service with internet.
- Tribal TANF: The temporary assistance program is also available on Tribal Lands. Parents from needy Tribal families get government support until they can earn an income for their families. If the families participate in TANF, they can apply for free landline services.
How to Apply for Free Landline Phone Service with Internet
There are several ways to apply for free landline phone service with internet. You could do it online or by snail mail. How you apply depends on whether you prefer one method over the other. Here are the several ways you may hand in your Lifeline Assistance application:
1. Online Via the National Verifier or Lifeline Website
There are two official government websites through which you can apply for Lifeline Assistance – the National Verifier and Lifeline. Both are operated by the Universal Services Administration Company (USAC).
You can check your eligibility status and complete the application form through the National Verifier website. The Lifeline website also allows you to check your eligibility for the program and fill out the application form. Here is some of the information you must provide in your application:
- Full name
- Home address
- Date of birth
2. Mail-In Application
The alternative is to download and print the application form, fill it out, and send it via mail. Besides, you can get the physical application form from participating providers. Fill out the form, attach supporting documents are send it to the following address: Lifeline Support Center, P.O. Box 7081, London, KY 40742
3. Application Via the Provider
If you made your application through any of the methods above, you should wait for approval before choosing a provider. Otherwise, you may start by selecting a suitable Lifeline provider. You can then apply for Lifeline through your provider. The following are some Lifeline providers and how you can apply for Lifeline Assistance through them:
- Access Wireless: Access Wireless provides free landline phone services to its customers across the United States. It has a dedicated website through which eligible individuals can apply for Lifeline Assistance. New customers may also reach out to customer service at 1-888-900-5859.
- Assurance Wireless: If you choose Assurance Wireless, you can hand in your application via the company’s website. You’ll be required to enter your ZIP code to complete the application. After filling out the online application form, you should attach digital copies of relevant documents and submit them.
- AT&T: AT&T offers free landline phone service with internet. Application is online via the National Verifier website for those living outside California. After getting approval, participants should call AT&T at 1-877-949-2524. California residents may apply by calling AT&T at 1-800-288-2020.
- Boost Mobile: Boost Mobile is one of the mainstream Lifeline program providers in the United States. Eligible individuals may submit their applications via the National Verifier website. After approval, they should contact Boost Mobile through any customer service channel.
- enTouch Wireless: With enTouch Wireless can enjoy free landline services with internet. The company has a dedicated website through which eligible individuals can submit their applications.
- Life Wireless: Life Wireless offers free landline phone services and internet. Once you have ascertained your eligibility for Lifeline assistance, you can head straight to the company’s website to complete the application form.
- Metro by T-Mobile: To get free landline phone services with internet, eligible individuals should apply to the National Verifier website. After getting an eligibility notification, they should go to the T-Mobile website to print and download Lifeline enrolment forms. With that, they will validate their participation in the T-Mobile Lifeline program.
- Q Link Wireless: Q Link Wireless is a national Lifeline provider. It offers free landline services and high-speed internet plans. Eligible individuals can go to the company’s website to complete the application.
- SafeLink Wireless: Is SafeLink Wireless your preferred landline phone service provider? If so, you can complete the Lifeline application form right on their website. However, you should start by checking your eligibility first to avoid getting locked out.
- StanduUp Wireless: StandUp Wireless is one of the Lifeline providers with easy online application procedures. Once you verify your eligibility, you can apply online to the National Verifier website. After approval, you should activate the service by calling StandUp Wireless at 1-800-544-4441.
- Verizon: Verizon’s application process is similar to that of StandUp Wireless. Start by verifying your eligibility and filling out the application form via the National Verifier website. Alternatively, you may print out the form and submit it via mail to the Lifeline Support Center. Once approved, you may contact Verizon at 1-800-Verizon for service activation.
What Documents Do I Need to Get Free Landline Phone Service with Internet
Before applying for the Lifeline program, you should collect all the documents you need to prove your identity and eligibility. Having the documents at hand makes the application process hassle-free. Besides, you are unlikely to be asked to submit the documents later.
Therefore, you should make every effort to collect the following documents:
1. Identity Documents
It is not enough to state your full name in the application form. Providing identity documents gives USAC the confidence that they are dealing with a natural person. Ensure you provide official documents with your name, date of birth, and social security number (SSN). Essentially any of the following documents should be sufficient for a Lifeline application:
- U.S. passport
- Foreign passport
- Birth certificate
- Driver’s license
- Certificate of citizenship
- Certificate of naturalisation
- A military, state, or Tribal ID
2. Income Documents
Do you have an annual family income under 135% of poverty guidelines? Provide documents proving that, indeed, that’s the case. Possibly, two or more family members make some form of income. Collect all the income-related documents showing the aggregate annual income. If you make money monthly, you will need documents showing how much you make in 12 months.
Here are examples of the documents you should assemble as you prepare to hand in your application:
- The previous year’s tax returns (Federal, state, or Tribal)
- Social Security statement of benefits
- Worker’s Compensation statement of benefits
- Veterans Administration statement of benefits
- Pension statement of benefits
- 12-month paycheck stubs
- Divorce decree or child support award
3. Government Assistance Documents
One of the Lifeline qualification criteria is to benefit from an assistance program. Which program do you benefit from? You must provide an official program document when applying for free landline phone service with internet.
Eligible documents should contain the participant’s official name, the name of the assistance program, and the providing entity (Federal, state, or Tribal organization). Besides, the program should be current and unlikely to expire within the next 12 months.
Here are examples of the documents you should collect to prove your or a family member’s participation in an assistance program:
- Assistance program approval letter
- Assistance program verification letter
- Benefits award letter
- Assistance program statement of benefits
- Children’s school documentation
4. Other Documents
Proving your identity, income, and participation in an assistance program is essential for all Lifeline applicants. However, you may also need to provide and verify your shipping address. In that case, you need a utility bill, bank statement, or any other document containing the same address you filled out in the application form.
Even though minors can benefit from Lifeline Assistance, they aren’t allowed to apply unless they are emancipated. Emancipated minors should provide court documents proving their new legal status. Alternatively, they can supply a certificate of emancipation.
Benefits of Getting Lifeline Free Landline Phone Services with Internet
Lifeline Assistance is a comprehensive government program that comes with many benefits. It connects low-income families to landline phone services, mobile phone services, wireless internet, and broadband internet. Thus, users enjoy much more than just landline phone service and internet.
Eligible families get a $9.25 discount, which they can use to pay their monthly phone and internet bills. Tribe members get substantially high values of up to $34.25. The following are some of the benefits of getting free landline phone service with internet through Lifeline:
- 1,000 minutes talk-time
- 4.5GB of data with 3G mobile internet speeds
- 1229GB of data on broadband internet with 25Mbps internet speeds
- $5.25 discount on monthly phone bills
- $9.25 (or $34.25 on Tribal Lands) discount on monthly internet bills
The Bottom Line
With free landline phone service with the internet, low-income families can stay in touch with family and friends. They can also work online and complete school assignments. These families only need to qualify for the Lifeline program. That means income below 135% of poverty guidelines or benefitting from an assistance program.
Application for free landline phone services is via the National Verifier or Lifeline websites. Applicants may also use the providers’ websites or phone numbers to complete the application process. After approval, they should wait for the provider to install the landline. The service requires annual recertification and renewal.
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