Lifeline Support

Am I Eligible?

Pre-Screening Tool

Use the pre-screening tool to see if you might be eligible for a Lifeline Program discount.


There are two ways to qualify for the Lifeline Program.

One: Income-Based Eligibility

If your household's income is at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, you may be eligible for a Lifeline Program discount. To determine if your household meets this criteria, use our federal poverty guidelines eligibility chart. This chart is updated each year.

Find the total number of members of your household in the left column, and your household location (Alaska, Hawaii, or 48 U.S. states and D.C.), and if your household is at or below the listed household income, your household may be eligible for a Lifeline Program discount.

Two: Program-Based Eligibility

If you, or someone in your household, participate in one of the following federal or state assistance programs, you may be eligible for a Lifeline Program discount.

  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) or Section 8;
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps;
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP);
  • Medicaid;
  • National School Lunch Program's (NSLP) free lunch program;
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF);
  • If you participate in a qualifying program established by your state, or
  • If you reside on Tribal lands (any federally recognized Indian tribe's reservation, Pueblo, or colony, including former reservations in Oklahoma, Alaska Native regions, Hawaiian Home Lands, or Indian Allotments) and participate in any of the federal or state assistance programs below:
    • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance;
    • Head Start (only households meeting the income qualifying standard);
    • Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF); or
    • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.

Changes to the list of eligible programs occur on December 2, 2016. The new list of eligible programs is:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps;
  • Medicaid;
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit - NEW

There are no changes to the Tribal or income eligibility criteria.

One Benefit per Household

Only one Lifeline Program discount (either wireless or  landline telephone, home internet or a cell phone data plan) is allowed per household. The definition of a "household" is anyone living at an address (including children, relatives, people not related to you, etc.) who share income(s) and household expenses.

Use this questionnaire to determine if you are one household.

Am I Eligible

Your telephone company will use a Household Worksheet to determine if more than one household resides at your address. The worksheet must be completed when any new applicant applies for a Lifeline Program discount at an address where a discount is already being received.

How to Apply

To apply for a discount, you must contact your telephone company directly. You may not contact USAC to apply for a discount. See the Apply for Lifeline page for the three steps you need to take to apply for the Lifeline Program.