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Lifeline Assistance Program: What You Need to Know Before Applying 

Lifeline Assistance Program: What You Need to Know Before Applying

The program allows low-income households free cell phone and broadband internet service. These services can help consumers stay connected to family and friends, find jobs, and access government benefits.

Your household’s income and involvement in government assistance programs affect your eligibility for Lifeline. It would help if you also answered questions truthfully. Violating these rules can lead to fines, imprisonment, or de-enrollment from the program.


Maryland residents can get free cell phone service through the Lifeline Program if they meet certain eligibility requirements. It includes having a government benefit card or a household income at least 135% of the federal poverty guideline. The program provides discounts on voice and broadband (high-speed internet) services.

The discount can be used on stand-alone broadband or a bundled voice and broadband package. The Universal Service Administrative Company administers the federally-funded Lifeline program.

They are responsible for data collection, support calculation, and disbursement. The program is also subject to several restrictions, including a one-per-household rule. Customers who violate this rule may be fined, imprisoned, or barred from the program.

The program’s guidelines require subscribers to submit proof of their eligibility. It can be done in various ways, including showing a valid government benefit card, providing evidence of low income, or answering questions about their status and circumstances. The documentation must be current and must cover three months. In addition, applicants must provide a photo ID to prove their identity.

The application process is easy and can be done online or by phone. The verification process can take up to 10 days, and applicants must provide all the necessary documents. The National Verifier will review the applications and records to ensure they are complete. Only complete applications will be approved, so ensuring all information is accurate and up-to-date is important.

Participation Requirements

The Maryland Lifeline free government phone program, or the Assurance Wireless program, is available to state residents who meet the income and program participation requirements. The program ensures all low-income households can access fundamental phone and data services. It ensures that these households can connect with friends and family, stay connected to emergency services, and keep up with their job search and daily life tasks.

You must also participate in one of the qualifying government assistance programs, such as Medicaid, TANF, or SNAP. If you are already a customer of a Lifeline-participating service provider, you can ask them to verify your eligibility for the program.

In addition to phone and broadband services, the Lifeline Program offers discounts on landlines, cell phones, and Wi-Fi devices. It is a good idea to check with your area’s service providers and public service commission to see the specific requirements.

All Lifeline recipients must complete a yearly recertification process. It is done online or by phone, depending on the service provider. It is to ensure that the beneficiary’s information stays the same. The beneficiary may avoid fines or de-enrollment from the program if the information is accurate.


The program has certain limitations, including a one-per-household limitation. It is also non-transferable. If you are found to be receiving Lifeline from multiple providers, your service will be deactivated immediately.

You must re-certify every year to ensure you continue to qualify for the program. The company may send you a letter in the mail or use pre-recorded messages on your phone to remind you to re-certify.

You have 30 days to notify the provider if your address changes or you are no longer eligible for service. Please do so to avoid the loss of your benefits. You will be required to provide proof of your income annually, or USAC will request it in the form of a letter or pre-recorded message on your phone.

Requirements for Proof of Income

You might qualify for the Lifeline Assistance Program if you reside in Maryland and make a modest income. This free government cell phone program is designed to help low-income households stay connected to vital communications services.

Applicants must meet certain income and participation requirements to qualify for the program. In addition, the program only offers one subsidy per household. You may be eligible for a landline wireless phone or both, depending on your income level. Those participating in the Lifeline Assistance Program must verify their income yearly.

The documentation required for this process varies from state to state. Still, it typically includes a letter or receipt stating that the recipient is participating in an eligible program or is receiving a benefit, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or Pell Grant. The document must have the program or government agency’s name and an issue date. Other valid proof of income includes:

  • A current pay stub or paycheck.
  • Unemployment benefits statement.
  • Child support award letter.
  • A public housing assistance lease agreement.

USAC, a Universal Service Administrative Company division, oversees the Lifeline Assistance Program. Currently, 29 authorized service providers in the United States offer a variety of plans for program participants, including home and mobile phone services and broadband-voice service bundles. Some of the providers also offer discounted rates for seniors. These discounts can reduce the cost of a new phone by as much as $9.25.

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