Low-Income Voice, Broadband Discounts Available Through ‘Lifeline’ Program

Recognizing that not everyone can afford the cost of a voice or broadband connection, the Lifeline Program provides a monthly discount for eligible low-income consumers on a wireless or residential voice, broadband or voice-broadband bundled service from a certified Massachusetts Lifeline Provider.

Although there are several providers participating in the Lifeline program in Massachusetts, each eligible household can only subscribe to one Lifeline service. Consumers qualify for Lifeline by having income of 135 percent or below of the federal poverty guidelines or by participating in one of the following public assistance programs:

  • Medicaid;
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA); or
  • the Veterans and Survivors Pension Program.

During Lifeline Awareness Week, we are asking you, our dedicated gateway partners, to assist us in spreading the word to your network of individuals and families that may benefit from the savings offered by this program, but may not be aware that it exists.  We are also asking that you join us in helping educate other community stakeholders about recent changes to the Lifeline application process, as Massachusetts applicants need to first verify their eligibility for the Lifeline Program using the Lifeline National Verifier, a centralized system that is managed directly by USAC, the administrator of the Lifeline Program under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and also certain Program changes such temporary COVID 19 Relief waivers in effect until November 30, 2020. www.usac.org/lifeline/additional-requirements/covid-19-response/.

Here’s how YOU can help increase awareness of the Lifeline Program:

  • Check out the federal government’s resources at org.
  • Contact the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable to learn more about the Lifeline application process, participating Massachusetts’ providers, or to request a virtual outreach event to learn more about the program.  We are here to help assist and answer your questions.
  • Distribute information to your staff and network via email, newsletter, blog, or social media sharing information about the program and its benefits.
    • Sample Tweets:
      • Stay connected with Lifeline Assistance! fcc.gov/lifeline #NLAW
      • It’s #LifelineAwarenessWeek!  Learn more about the #LifelineProgram from the #MADTC at mass.gov/dtc.
      • The #Lifeline Program helps make #broadband more affordable for eligible #low-income consumers. #NLAW #digital divide org
      • The #LifelineProgram helps make #broadband more affordable for eligible #lowincome consumers. More info from the #MADTC at mass.gov/dtc #NLAW #digitaldivide

The Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable oversees both the implementation and consumer education efforts for the Lifeline program in Massachusetts.  Our Consumer Division accepts complaints concerning Lifeline service and works directly with Lifeline service providers to resolve any issues that subscribers may encounter, including eligibility questions, enrollment difficulties, and recertification problems.  We welcome you to contact the DTC’s Consumer Hotline at 1-800-392-6066, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.  For more information, you may also visit our website at https://www.mass.gov/service-details/lifeline-services.