Lifeline Program offers relief to those struggling to keep phone service
Low income and recently unemployed Kansans may qualify for phone service discounts of up to $17.02 per month with the Lifeline program. Currently more than 10 million low-income Americans, including 35,000 Kansans, are benefiting from Lifeline discounts on home and wireless phones as well as broadband.
At a time when many Americans may be unemployed or facing other circumstances that make them eligible for the program for the first time, the Kansas Corporation Commission is joining utility regulators nationwide in increasing awareness of the Lifeline program.
Under the federal Lifeline Program, those who qualify can receive up to $9.25 per month off their monthly bill. Participants may also be eligible for an additional $7.77 monthly discount through the Kansas program. Fifty-two telecommunication companies offer Lifeline services in the state.
Residents enrolled in any of the following assistance programs are eligible for the Lifeline program: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Federal Public Housing Assistance (FHPA), Veterans Pension & Survivors Pension Benefit, Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribally Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Head Start Tribal Programs (only those meeting its income qualifying standard), and the Food Distribution Program on Tribal Lands.
Those at 135% of the federal poverty level also qualify. Normally, applicants must provide three consecutive months of income documentation or provide a copy of their tax return for the previous year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the requirement of three months of income documentation has been waived until June 30, 2020. Instead, recently unemployed individuals may apply for the program by submitting an official document, including notice of unemployment benefits to confirm their income-based eligibility for Lifeline support.
More information on Lifeline eligibility and enrollment is available on the KCC’s website: http://kcc.ks.gov/telecommunications/lifeline or by calling the KCC’s Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection at 800-662-0027 or 785-271-3140. For a complete list of Kansas Lifeline providers, go to https://data.usac.org/publicreports/CompaniesNearMe/State/StateOption/KS.