No one should be without telephone service because they can't afford it. Access to a telephone provides access to vital emergency services and community resources. If you need help paying for your telephone services, there is help. You may qualify for Lifeline or Link Up programs through Midstate Communications if you receive benefits such as Food Stamps, Medicaid, or other similar programs. You can save money and stay connected with Midstate Communications and Lifeline and Link Up.
What type of discount is available?
Lifeline assistance lowers the cost of basic, monthly local telephone service. Eligible consumers can receive up to $9.25 per month in discounts. Eligible residents of Indian reservations or tribal lands can receive up to an additional $25 in Lifeline support.
Link Up provides eligible low-income consumers living on Tribal lands with a one-time discount of up to $100 on the initial installation or activation of a wireline or wireless telephone for the primary residence. Tribal Lands Link Up also allows consumers to pay the remaining amount that they owe on a deferred schedule, interest-free. Federal rules prohibit eligible low-income consumers from receiving more than ONE Link Up discount at a primary residence. Eligible consumers may be eligible for Link Up again only after moving to a new primary residence. Link Up support is only offered to carriers who are building out infrastructure on Tribal lands so not all carriers may discount their activation fee.
Enhanced benefits are provided to low-income consumers who live on a federally recognized Indian Tribe's reservation, pueblo, or colony; on a former reservation in Oklahoma; within an Indian allotment; within an Alaska Native region established by the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act; or Hawaiian Homelands held in trust pursuant to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act of 1920.
Toll Limitation Service (TLS) support allows eligible consumers who wish to
avoid incurring large long distance fees to choose toll blocking or toll control at no
Eligibility for Lifeline, Link Up, and TLS support varies by state. Individuals who
reside in states that have their own discount programs qualify for federal Lifeline,
Link Up, and TLS support if they meet the eligibility criteria established by their
state. In states that do not provide state support, an individual is eligible if he or
she participates in one of the following programs:
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance or Section 8
- Food Stamps
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- National School Lunch Program's free lunch program
In addition, a consumer may be eligible if his or her household income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines. Residents of Indian reservations or tribal lands qualify if they participate in any of
the programs listed above, have a household income that is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines, or participate in one of these programs:
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- Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) general assistance
- Head Start (income eligible)
- Tribal TANF
At least once each year, beginning in 2012, consumers that receive free or discounted Lifeline service must re-certify:
- That they remain eligible for Lifeline service, and;
- That no one else in their household receives Lifeline service.
If you have a Lifeline account, you will receive a re-certification notification requiring you to re-certify your eligibility. You could receive a letter in the mail, a telephone call, or a text message asking you to respond by re-certifying that you remain eligible for Lifeline.
If you fail to respond by the deadline indicated, your Lifeline discount will be eliminated.
This means your monthly phone bill will increase, or the free minutes you normally receive each month will not be provided. In order to avoid a change in service, consumers are strongly encouraged to respond promptly to re-certification notifications.
In addition, you must inform your telephone company if you no longer qualify for Lifeline service. If you become ineligible for Lifeline, you must contact your telephone company directly to de-enroll from Lifeline service.