Lifeline Program for Low-Income Consumers
Lifeline is an FCC lifeline program that helps make communications services more affordable for low-income consumers. Lifeline provides subscribers a discount on qualifying monthly telephone service, broadband Internet service, or bundled voice-broadband packages purchased from participating wireline or wireless providers.
Since 1985, the Lifeline program has provided a discount on phone service for qualifying low-income consumers to ensure that all Americans have the opportunities and security that phone service brings, including connecting to jobs, family, and emergency services. The Lifeline program is available to eligible low-income consumers in every state, territory, commonwealth, and Tribal land.
Lifeline provides up to a $9.25 monthly discount on service for eligible low-income subscribers and up to $34.25 per month for those on Tribal lands. Subscribers may receive a Lifeline discount on either a wireline or a wireless service, but they may not simultaneously receive a discount on both services. Lifeline also supports broadband Internet service and broadband-voice bundles. FCC rules prohibit more than one Lifeline service per household.
In the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order, the Commission included broadband as a support service in the Lifeline program. The lifeline Commission also set out minimum service standards for Lifeline-supported services to ensure maximum value for the universal service dollar. It established a National Eligibility Verifier to make independent subscriber eligibility determinations.