HARRISBURG – In coordination with a national effort to reach those in need of telecommunications assistance, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) recognizes Sept. 8-14 as Lifeline Awareness Week, to help low-income Pennsylvanians stay connected through the Lifeline Program.
“Now, more than ever, is an appropriate time to remind Pennsylvania consumers that there is a way to stay connected through the Lifeline Program, in addition to making them aware that all previous eligibility waivers have been extended,” said PUC Chairman Gladys Brown Dutrieuille. “Lifeline is intended to help make communications more affordable and more accessible for low-income households, giving them access to information about jobs, family, health care, schools and emergency services.”
Previous Recertification and Reverification Waivers Extended
Consumers or households that apply for Lifeline will be checked to see if they are eligible. After that, they must certify every year that they are eligible for such support. Currently, in response to the public health emergency associated with the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, the Lifeline program’s recertification and reverification requirements are waived through Nov. 30, 2020. This includes all previous Lifeline waivers governing recertification, reverification, general de-enrollment, subscriber usage, income documentation and documentation requirements for subscribers. More information on the federal government’s suspension of their Lifeline requirements is available at the USAC website.
Lifeline Program Benefits
Lifeline is a federal government benefit that provides eligible low-income consumers a monthly discount on their phone or internet bill. The benefit can be used for voice (telephone), Broadband Internet Access Service (or BIAS, usually called internet service), or a combined telephone/internet service product from a landline or wireless provider.
The program provides a $7.25 per household, per month discount on landline or wireless voice service and a $9.25 per household, per month discount on your wireless or landline internet service. The discount appears in the form of a reduction on the service provider’s bill. A service provider may also offer you the minimum Lifeline Program with no additional charges. The rules and amounts of support can change over time.
How to Qualify
A consumer qualifies for Lifeline if they are at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines or participate in specific federal programs, including: Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Veterans’ Pension and Survivor Benefit, Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA), and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). More information on program eligibility, how to apply and recertify is available on the Commission’s website.
About the PUC
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
Visit the PUC’s website at www.puc.pa.gov for recent news releases and video of select proceedings. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. Search for the “Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission” or “PA PUC” on your favorite social media channel for updates on utility issues and other helpful consumer information.
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