What is the Lifeline Program?
The Lifeline Program is a government program that provides a monthly discount on communications services which may include broadband internet, phone (landline or wireless), or bundles to eligible low-income households.
The Lifeline discount can lower or eliminate the cost of your monthly phone or internet bills. Only one discount is available per household for internet, landline or wireless service, but not all three.
(California residents have different Lifeline eligibility criteria and should visit https://californialifeline.com/en for more information.)
You may be eligible for Lifeline credits if you have a household income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or if you participate in one of the following programs.
- Food Stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP))
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veteran's Pension and Survivor’s Pension Benefits
Additionally, if you reside on Tribal lands, you may be eligible to receive Tribal Enhanced Lifeline credits.
Lifeline is non-transferable and only eligible consumers may enroll in the program. Other criteria established on a state level may also qualify you for Lifeline assistance. You can learn more about Lifeline by visiting: www.lifelinesupport.org/
How to apply?
How you apply depends on where you live.
Beginning November 2, 2018 Lifeline is beginning a multi-year transition to a national centralized system for processing applications and renewals. This new system is called the Lifeline National Verifier. The National Verifier process is rolling out in phases, starting with only a handful of states. Additional states will be added annually.
If you’re a TDS customer who lives in Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan (ILEC), Mississippi, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee, you’ll now use the new National Verifier process. You’ll find details about how to use the National Verifier below.
If you live in any of the following states, you’ll use the TDS state’s application and renewal process:
- Michigan - State Only (not Federal eligible)
- New York
- South Carolina
Information and links to these applications can be found below.
As stated above, Lifeline is beginning a multi-year transition to a national centralized system called the National Verifier. This system—in states where it has been implemented—determines if consumers are eligible for Lifeline credits and manages the annual Lifeline renewal process.
Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan (ILEC), Mississippi, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee residents
Consumers should use the National Verifier system if they live in the following states:
- Michigan (ILEC)
- New Hampshire
If your state is listed above, you can apply for Lifeline by visiting www.CheckLifeline.org or by printing the application linked for your state. You may also print an application at www.CheckLifeline.org by selecting your state in the drop down menu on that site and then selecting ‘use a paper form.’ Send your completed form to the address listed on the application.
Please note: If your state has moved to the Lifeline National Verifier process, TDS is no longer able to accept your Lifeline application.
Once the Lifeline National Verifier approves your application, contact TDS to activate your Lifeline benefits. You will be required to provide TDS your legal name, date of birth and last four digits of your social security number to activate the Lifeline benefits.
If you have questions concerning how to apply or questions about a submitted application, please call the Lifeline National Verifier at 1-800-234-9473.
You can learn more about the Lifeline National Verifier by visiting www.lifelinesupport.org/ and selecting “How to Use It” under the National Verifier in the left toolbar.
In states that are not using the National Verifier at this time, you’ll apply for Lifeline benefits by completing the application appropriate for your state. Print and complete the appropriate application linked below. Send your completed form to the address listed on the application. If there is no application link, follow the instructions by noted by your state.
If your application is accepted, the Lifeline benefits will be automatically applied to your next bill.
If you reside in a state that uses the TDS Lifeline application and have questions concerning your application or eligibility, please contact TDS at 1-888-CALL-TDS.