Lifeline service providers are required to confirm their customer's eligibility prior to enrolling them in the Lifeline Program, and retain the eligibility documentation according to the recordkeeping requirements.
To be eligible for Lifeline, the subscriber must document that they have a qualifying household income or participate in a qualifying program, and complete a certification form. Only one Lifeline benefit is allowed per household.
Service providers can use one of three methods to confirm subscriber eligibility:
A customer may be eligible for Lifeline-supported service if they have a household income at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. Visit the Income Eligibility to learn more, including income guidelines and acceptable forms of documentation.
A customer may be eligible for Lifeline-supported service if they participate in SNAP, Medicaid, or another qualifying program. Visit the Program Eligibility page to see the full list of qualifying programs and acceptable forms of documentation.
Service providers and state administrators must give prospective Lifeline subscribers a certification form that meets the requirements of the Lifeline Program Rules (see 54.410(d) – Eligibility certification form), which include:
The requirements for Lifeline's certification form are similar to the recertification form. A sample recertification form is available for reference.
Keep the signed certification form for the required record retention period.
USAC recommends collecting new subscribers’ permission to transmit their information to the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD), as is required by the rules, with the certification form.
Service providers are required to take steps to ensure they are not providing duplicate Lifeline-supported service to the same subscriber or household.
A household is anyone living at the same address who share income and household expenses.
A household worksheet must be completed any time more than one subscriber at a single residential address receives Lifeline-supported service, or when a new customer applies for service at an address where there is already a customer receiving a Lifeline benefit.
An example of a household worksheet that complies with the federal requirements is the universal Lifeline one-per-household worksheet, which service providers will be required to use upon the National Verifier "hard launch" in each state. Service providers in non-NV states may use the universal worksheet as well.