FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- September 05, 2013
Contact: Kevin Kelly (573) 751-9300
Lifeline Assistance Helps You "Stay Connected"
Missouri PSC Supports National Lifeline Awareness Week
JEFFERSON CITY---Telephone service is essential to staying connected with family and friends, seeking emergency and government services as well as community resources. The Lifeline program can provide discounts to help eligible low-income customers “stay connected."
The Missouri Public Service Commission joins a national effort in observing National Telephone Discount Lifeline Awareness Week. The week of September 9-15, 2013 has been designated to promote the Lifeline program. Funding for this program is primarily from the federal universal service fund, but additional funding may also be provided by the Missouri Universal Service Fund. Missouri also has a separate program for eligible disabled customers.
“These programs can make a difference,” said PSC Chairman Robert Kenney. “The Lifeline program is important and the Missouri Public Service Commission continues to work with telephone providers and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure the integrity of the program.”
Recent reforms at the federal and state level are designed to improve accountability and reduce waste, fraud and abuse of the Lifeline Program. Some of the more significant reforms include new sign-up procedures and the requirement to annually verify the continued eligibility of all subscribers.
Lifeline service is limited to one per household. A household cannot receive Lifeline service for multiple wireless phones or from multiple providers.
With new annual verification procedures, some customers may lose Lifeline benefits if they are currently receiving assistance from more than one provider or for more than one phone. “The Missouri Public Service Commission takes its role very seriously in making sure customers and companies are complying with state and federal Lifeline regulations,” said Kenney.
Customers may be eligible for assistance if their annual household income level is at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty level or if a member of the household participates in any of these programs: Food Stamps; MOHealthnet (or Medicaid); Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program; Temporary Assistance to Needy Families Program; Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Federal Public Housing Assistance; National School Lunch Program’s free lunch program; or certain disability benefits.
The Lifeline program is overseen by the FCC but the Missouri Public Service Commission helps administer the program.
Many, but not all, landline and wireless providers participate in the Lifeline program. In order to sign-up for the program, please contact your preferred local voice telephone company.
If your preferred company participates in the Lifeline or Missouri disabled program, you will be required to provide proof of eligibility. Additional information is available at http://psc.mo.gov/Telecommunications/Missouri_Universal_Service_Fund or on the national “Lifeline Across America” website at www.lifeline.gov .