The Importance of Lifeline Recertification – Why You Shouldn’t Skip It

Lifeline is a government assistance program that provides free or discounted phone service and wireless data plans to low-income consumers. It’s available to residents of every state, commonwealth, territory, and Tribal land.

To keep their benefits, subscribers must recertify annually. They can do this by phone or online. This is a quick and easy process.

It Keeps You Eligible

Every year, all Lifeline subscribers must recertify their eligibility. This ensures they are still eligible for free monthly talk, text and data. The Lifeline program is designed to help low-income consumers get affordable communications services. It offers a discount on the home telephone or wireless service, with only one discounted benefit per household. This discount can be used for a home internet service or a cell phone data plan.

Lifeline eligibility is based on income and a family’s share of the total household budget. For example, you may qualify if your income exceeds 135% of the federal poverty guidelines.

Once enrolled in Lifeline, you will receive a letter from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), your state’s Lifeline administrator or a third party verifying that you are eligible to participate in the Lifeline program. The letter will include a recertification form that you must fill out completely. Depending on your needs, you can recertify online, by mail or over the phone.

It Saves You Money

Every two years, you must undergo a Lifeline recertification process to be eligible for the program. If you recertify, your phone company will continue applying the discount to your bill and may raise your monthly rate.

You can recertify by mail, fax or online. The online process is usually faster and easier, but some Illinois providers also allow you to do it over the phone. You’ll need to provide some information over the phone, such as your address, name, and number. Using this system, you can check whether or not you still qualify for the Lifeline program and certify that no one else in your household is receiving a discount. This should take about 12-15 minutes. In addition, the online system also allows you to verify that you are eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides a $9.25 discount on your internet bill (and up to $75 for households on Tribal lands). There are many ways to recertify for Lifeline, but trying the one that best fits your needs is a good idea. The most important thing is to ensure you recertify properly to keep your Lifeline discount. Getting a reminder to recertify is also a good idea, which can be delivered by mail or via an automated phone call. Getting this reminder is the simplest way to ensure you’re keeping your lifeline benefit.

It Keeps You Connected

You must recertify your Lifeline eligibility every year to keep your service active. This is a requirement of the federal and state authorities that oversee the Lifeline program. Typically, the process is done by phone or mail. You will receive instructions from your phone company and a recertification form. If you recertify, your benefits will be continued, and your account will be de-enrolled. You will lose free talk, text and data if you recertify within 60 days. You can recertify over the phone using an interactive automated voice system. It will take 12-15 minutes to complete, and you will find out immediately whether your recertification was approved or denied.

Some providers also allow you to recertify online. This takes about five minutes and can be done in either English or Spanish. The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) will verify that you are still eligible for the Lifeline benefit. They will do this by checking the national database. If they can’t confirm your eligibility, USAC will send you a letter and may contact you by email or pre-recorded message on your phone.


It Keeps You Safe

One of USAC’s most important tasks is certifying your continued Lifeline eligibility. This ensures you receive the benefits and that the program operates properly without any problems or false claims. Call your service provider or log on to the USAC website to certify your Lifeline eligibility. In either case, you must provide basic information about yourself and your service. The online system is easy to use, with support available in both English and Spanish. It takes approximately 12-15 minutes to complete, and you can find out immediately if your recertification has been approved or denied. A few Illinois providers also allow you to recertify by phone. If you do so, you will receive a letter from your provider in the mail with a number you can call to recertify your Lifeline eligibility. Reviewing your bill and paying past-due amounts is a good idea, so your service is not interrupted. Additionally, you should recertify your Lifeline eligibility if your income has changed. While at it, send your paper recertification form in the postage-paid envelope provided.