Lifeline Helps Pay Consumers’ Phone and Internet Service

CAST | July 20, 2020 | by Donna Childress

A recent webinar shows how to help consumers, including HUD residents, apply to improve connectivity.

Lifeline is a federal program that can improve connectivity for older adults by providing monthly discounts on phone and internet service or bundled services. All eligible consumers can receive a discount of up to $9.25 per month. Those who live on qualifying Tribal lands can receive enhanced support of up to $34.25 per month.
A recent webinar presented by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provided an overview of the program and how to help consumers apply for it. The webinar recording is available. Please watch it to learn how you can bring this program to those you serve.
This program is provided through the Universal Service Fund, which exists to ensure that all people in the United States have access to quality, affordable connectivity services.


To qualify for a discount, a person must have an income at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines or participate in any one of the following government benefit programs:

  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA).
  • Medicaid.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
  • Tribal Programs (and live on federally recognized Tribal lands).
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit. 

Only one Lifeline discount is available per household/residence, or group of people that share income and expenses. A worksheet is available for those who share housing. Those who have a child or dependent who participates in any of the eligible programs may also sign up for Lifeline.
To receive Lifeline, a consumer must complete the Lifeline application and provide supporting documentation. The National Verifier, which is connected to HUD data to streamline and simplify the eligibility verification process for HUD residents, checks a consumer’s Lifeline eligibility. Once qualified, the consumer chooses a Lifeline company and provides the qualification status to enroll in the program. Lifeline is available in every state except Texas, Oregon, and California, where the National Verifier relies on existing state eligibility processes.
The Lifeline Support Center can help HUD providers assist residents in applying, including residents who have a disability and need assistance with their application.