Lifeline Program Application Process

Staying connected in today’s world is essential, but for many, the cost of phone and internet services can be a significant burden. This is where the Lifeline Benefit Program steps in. It’s a government initiative designed to make communication services more affordable for low-income individuals and families.

This program provides a discount on monthly telephone service, broadband Internet service, or voice-broadband bundled services purchased from participating providers.

In this article, we review the Lifeline Program and focus on the application process. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to apply for Lifeline assistance.

What Is the Lifeline Program and How Does It Work?

The Lifeline Benefit Program is a government program that helps people with lower incomes pay less for their phone or internet services. This program is important because it makes sure that everyone can afford these essential services.

👉 Here’s how it works: If you qualify for the Lifeline program, you get a discount every month on either your phone bill (this could be your home phone or a cell phone) or your internet bill. But, it’s important to remember that this discount can only be used for one of these services, not both.

Woman sitting at dinner table applying for lifeline program

So, you have to choose which one is more important for you – maybe it’s your phone to stay in contact with family and friends, or perhaps it’s the internet for work, school, or getting information.

The discount from the Lifeline program doesn’t cover the whole bill, but it reduces the amount you have to pay. This means your phone or internet service becomes more affordable. It helps ensure that you can keep using these important services even if money is tight.

You can only get the Lifeline discount for one service in your household. This rule is there to make sure that the program can help as many people as possible. By offering a discount on either phone or internet services, the Lifeline program helps you stay connected in a way that best suits your needs.

How To Apply for Lifeline Benefits

Applying for the Lifeline program might seem daunting, but it’s actually quite straightforward. Let’s walk through the steps together to make sure you know exactly what to do.

Step 1: Check Your Eligibility – Before anything else, find out if you’re eligible for Lifeline. Keep reading, because we go over this in more detail. You might qualify if your income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or if you participate in programs like SNAP, Medicaid, or SSI.

Step 2: Gather Necessary Documents – You’ll need to prove your eligibility. This means having documents like a recent income statement, tax return, or proof of participation in a federal assistance program. Don’t forget a form of ID like a driver’s license or passport.

Step 3: Find a Lifeline Provider – Not all phone or internet companies offer Lifeline services. Visit the Lifeline website at to find providers in your area.

Step 4: Complete the Application – With your documents in hand and a provider chosen, fill out the Lifeline application. You can do this online, by mail, or through your provider.

Where to Apply for Lifeline?

To get started, visit the Lifeline program’s official website.

⚠️ Keep in mind, our articles are guides, not gospel. We are not the government, so for the most accurate benefit details, make sure to check with official government channels.

If you don’t have an account, you’ll need to create one. Otherwise, log in. Fill out the Lifeline application form online. You’ll need your full name, date of birth, the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number, and home address.

Apply Through Your Phone or Internet Provider

You can also apply for Lifeline by visiting or contacting your phone or internet provider. Ask if they participate in the Lifeline program.

How to Apply for Lifeline by Mail

To apply by mail, print out a Lifeline application form:

Complete the form and include copies of your documents. Mail your application and documents to:

Lifeline Support Center
P.O. Box 9100
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773

Ready to get started? Apply for Lifeline today:

Who Qualifies for the Lifeline Program?

Let’s take a closer look at the eligibility requirements of the Lifeline program. You can qualify based on a review of your income, or if you are already participating in an approved assistance program.

Income-Based Eligibility

To qualify for Lifeline, your income must be at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. This criterion is based on your household size and total annual income. It includes all sources of income, ensuring that those who need financial assistance the most can access the program.

Program-Based Eligibility

Alternatively, eligibility for Lifeline can also be determined through participation in certain federal assistance programs.

Approved programs include:

  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
  • Certain Tribal Programs (for residents on Tribal lands)

If you or someone in your household participates in any of these programs, you automatically meet the eligibility criteria for Lifeline.

Lifeline Program Rules

Benefit Limitations

Lifeline provides a monthly discount on either phone or internet services, but not both. The benefit is limited to one option per household, which includes:

  • A discount on one mobile phone or one home phone service.
  • A discount on either mobile phone internet or home internet service.
  • For bundled services, the discount applies to either mobile or home bundles.

Definition of Household

A household in the context of Lifeline is defined as any group of people living together who share income and expenses. This definition is irrespective of whether they are related. The Lifeline program emphasizes that there is only one benefit per household.


It is important to note that the Lifeline benefit is non-transferable. You cannot give your benefit to another person, even if they are eligible. The benefit is tied to the qualifying individual or household.

Always Be Honest

When applying for Lifeline, providing accurate and truthful information is paramount. Any false or fraudulent information can lead to loss of the benefit and potential legal consequences, including fines or imprisonment.

Additional Documentation

In some cases, if the Lifeline Program Administrator cannot validate your eligibility through electronic databases, you may be required to submit additional documentation. This could include proof of participation in a qualifying government assistance program, proof of income, or identity verification.

After You Apply for Lifeline: What Happens Next?

Once you’ve submitted your application, it’s time for a bit of a waiting game. Here’s what happens next:

Application Review

The review doesn’t happen instantly – it usually takes a few weeks. During this time, the Lifeline team is busy going over your application. They’re checking every piece of information you’ve given to make sure you fit into the criteria for getting Lifeline benefits.

In the review phase, the Lifeline team pays close attention to your details. During this review, the Lifeline team examines key aspects like your income level and your participation in government programs like SNAP, SSI, or Medicaid. They’re ensuring that all the information on your application is accurate and matches their criteria.

💡 Patience Is Key: While your application is under review, it’s important to stay patient. If you’re feeling anxious and want to know where your application stands, you have options. Most Lifeline providers offer a way for you to check the status of your application online. Or, if you prefer, you can give them a call and ask directly. It’s important to remember that this part of the process takes time, but it’s all about making sure that the help Lifeline offers goes to the people who really need it.


After your application is thoroughly reviewed, and if everything looks good, you’ll move on to the approval phase. This is where things start getting real. Once approved, you’ll begin receiving your Lifeline benefits! These benefits will help reduce the cost of either your phone or internet bill (you get to choose which one). It won’t cover the entire bill, but it will make a noticeable difference in how much you have to pay.

Your Role in the Application Process

Throughout this entire process, your role is to provide accurate information and then wait for the Lifeline team to do their part. Once approved, you can take advantage of these cost-saving benefits and stay connected to the world around you.

Applying for Lifeline benefits is a step towards making your communication needs more affordable. It’s about getting the support you need and the Lifeline team is there to help you through each step of the process. Remember, once you’re in the program, you’re not just a recipient of benefits; you’re part of a community that values connectivity and understands its importance in today’s world.

👉 Remember to Recertify

It’s important to note that being part of Lifeline is not just a one-time deal. Every year, you’ll need to confirm that you still qualify for the program. You’ll receive an email or reminder in the mail about how and when to recertify for future benefits.