There are two main programs in Alabama that can help household with paying their phone bills, and they include Lifeline as well as Link up. Both of them are required to be offered by federal government law to low income families or those that receive some form of public assistance, such as food stamps, LIHEAP, or other aid.
The goal of these Alabama low income telephone programs is to ensure that every homeowner or renter in the state has some form of access to emergency communication, regardless of their income. For example, if someone, such as a senior or a person with a disability, lives on a fixed income or maybe an individual lost their job, by using this program they may be able to get help for their bills. No matter the situation, Lifeline can help make that monthly telephone expense a little more affordable.
When applying for a discount, one of two conditions need to be met. First, Lifeline is for families with a very low income, and that is usually based around 100 to 150% of the federal poverty levels for a household. So applicants may qualify based on that condition.
Or, assistance with phone bills is also provided for individuals that receive some type of federal or state of Alabama government benefits. Examples of what may qualify a family include they receive low income energy assistance from LIHEAP, Medicaid, SNAP Food Stamps, TANF, SSI disability or Section 8 voucher. There may be others though, and the phone company can provide more advice on this. In many cases, when applying for any form of public aid, the client will be automatically enrolled into Lifeline.
Link-Up is the second assistance program in Alabama. This one will provide a discount for the installation of a new phone, or maybe even for the activation costs for a wireless service. In some cases the savings may be up to 50% of the costs that a household would normally need to pay for this expense.
When seeking help, all applications need to go through the phone company that is used. While a local community action agency or social service department can provide referrals to Lifeline, they do not process the applications themselves. All phone companies in Alabama participate, including, but not limited too Virgin Mobile, T-Mobile, Verizon, AT&T, Frontier, Global Connection of America, and many others. Call them for more information.
The exact dollar amount of any discount provided will vary, based on the company, applicants income and other criteria. However, it will normally be about $10 per month. It also applies only for basic service and not any special features, such as call waiting. So if a customer asks for other features on their phone, they will need to pay those costs out of their own pocket.
Only one telephone per home or apartment is able to be enrolled as well. So it can be a home phone or cellular line, but not both. Also, it does not matter how many people reside at a the address in Alabama, there is still a limit of one unit.
When requesting help from your provider, note that some will call it “Regular” Lifeline. The reason they do this is there may be an enhanced plan provided by some companies, and when that is available, it will offer an individual even greater savings. So always ask this of your phone company.
The agency that regulates it across the state is the Alabama Public Service Commission. Consumers that are being denied the discount or that have issues with their phone company can call the commission at 1-800-392-8050. However they will only help resolve disputes, or maybe answer some technical questions.
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