The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) is recognizing National Lifeline Awareness Week, September 20-24, 2021. Lifeline helps ensure that low-income consumers can afford today’s communications technology and the access it provides to jobs, healthcare, and education resources.
“Lifeline is a program to help make communications services more affordable for low-income consumers, including new technologies,” said PSC Chairman Gary Clark. “No one should be offline today, regardless of income. Lifeline provides eligible consumers an opportunity to stay connected with a discount on monthly telephone and broadband internet services.”
With landlines decreasing, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has shifted its Lifeline program’s focus to support broadband services for eligible consumers. In this move, the FCC adopted a transition period in 2016 to gradually reduce reimbursement for voice-only Lifeline services, with support ending on December 1, 2021. Lifeline support for voice-only service will continue at $5.25 per month from December 1, 2021 through November 30, 2022 in certain Census blocks, as described on the Universal Service Administrative Company’s (USAC) website.
During the 2021 Lifeline Awareness Week, the PSC is promoting Lifeline telephone service in some of the identified Florida Census blocks where eligible consumers can still receive $5.25 per month for voice-only Lifeline services after the December 1, 2021 phase-out. Targeted cities include: Doral, Perry, Defuniak Springs, Brooksville, and Homosassa. Consumers are still eligible for voice-only services in Census blocks where there is only one Lifeline provider.
The federal Lifeline program currently provides a $5.25 monthly discount on stand-alone voice service and a $9.25 monthly discount for broadband. The Lifeline program can be a life changer for eligible veterans, unemployed workers, the homeless and disabled, older adults and other low-income Floridians.
The Lifeline benefit can only be used toward phone (landline or wireless) or internet (broadband), but not both. One discount is allowed per household. Lifeline customers must recertify their program eligibility every year. More information on program eligibility, rules, and key messages is available on the FCC’s website.
To participate in Lifeline, consumers must have an income at or below 135 percent of the federal Poverty Guidelines, or they (or someone in their household) must participate in one of these federal assistance programs:
• Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps
• Supplemental Security Income
• Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
• Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
• Tribal Programs (and live on federally-recognized Tribal lands)
You will need to show a card, letter, or official document, as proof that you participate in one of these programs when you apply for Lifeline. An application is available here to help you determine eligibility.
Lifeline information is also readily available on the PSC’s website.
Joining other states in celebrating National Lifeline Awareness Week, Florida’s outreach efforts strive to raise awareness and increase participation in the Lifeline program. More information on National Lifeline Awareness Week can be found here.
For additional information, visit www.floridapsc.com.
Follow the PSC on Twitter, @floridapsc.