Lifeline is a federal program that provides a monthly discount on phone or internet service to eligible households in the amount of $9.25. Only one Lifeline benefit—either wireless or landline phone, home internet or cell phone data plan—is allowed per household. Not all internet services will qualify for the discount. Only those internet offerings at speeds of 10/1 Mbps and above will qualify, with certain exceptions. For more information about the federal Lifeline Program, see the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) webpage What is the Lifeline Program?
Your “household” includes everyone who lives with you and shares in the household income and expenses. This includes children, adults, relatives and people not related to you.
Please Note: Not all phone companies participate in the Lifeline Program. Here is the current list of participating companies:
- FairPoint Communications
- Franklin Telephone
- Life Wireless (Telrite)
- OTT Communications (Shoreham)
- QLink Wireless
- TDS Telecom (Ludlow, Northfield, Perkinsville)
- Topsham Telephone
- Vermont Telephone (VTel)
- Waitsfield/Champlain Valley Telecom
Current cell phone companies that offer the Lifeline credit are Life Wireless and QLink.
Vermont’s Universal Service Fund (VUSF) provides an additional discount on telephone service only, and the amount varies between companies depending upon the cost of service, but may not exceed $7.00 per month.
Other companies may offer a discount for low-income consumers, but they are not required to do so, and they do not get reimbursed for their costs from the VUSF.
NEW Federal rules now state that once you start getting Lifeline, you must stay with a provider of telephone services for 60 days or with a broadband (internet) provider for 12 months before you may change to a new provider. Certain exceptions may be allowed.
To apply for the Lifeline Credit, download the Lifeline application form:
Fill out the Lifeline application form and return it with a copy of your most recent phone bill and proof of income—see the application form or the Economic Services Division (ESD) webpage Lifeline Program for examples—to:
The Lifeline Program - ADPC
280 State Drive
Waterbury, VT 05671-1500
For more information about the Vermont Lifeline Program, please visit the ESD webpage: Lifeline Program or call the ESD at 1-800-775-0507. If you’re age 60 or older, you can also call the Senior Helpline at 1-800-642-5119.