Consumers in Arizona can get assistance on their telephone bills from Lifeline or other state and federal government funded programs. There are services for seniors, individuals with a medical issue or disability, as well as other low income families that receive government benefits. So the number of possible cell and home phone programs for residents in Arizona is extensive.
Households with a member over the age of 65 can get help from the Senior Telephone Discount Program, or SDTP. This will provide them with savings each month, but they are only for basic phone service and will not cover any extra features.
For those that qualify, the discounts can range from 15 to 20% on their typical bills. They will need to meet low income limits based on federal government poverty guidelines), or receive state of Arizona or federal government benefits such as Medicaid or SNAP food stamps. The savings will be applied both to monthly bills as well as the installation costs and any deposits that may be due for those expenses. One key difference from SDTP is that it can’t be used on cellular service and it can only be used for a home phone / landline.
The head of the household needs to be over the age of 65 and meet all conditions in place by Arizona. To apply, contact a community action agency, library for an application, or call your home phone provider. Forms are available at all of these locations, or receive more information from them on this service.
Lifeline is another discount program in Arizona. At one time this was administered by Qwest, and many people still refer to it that way. However it is now administered by each individual telecommunications company, so call your provider to enroll or call a community action agency.
The discount is for the low income or individuals that receive some type of public assistance. There is also a program for the disabled in Arizona or individuals that are considered to be medically in-need. Savings are only provided for one phone per household, and that can be either a cell phone or home landline.
While the rates and funding levels are set each year, Lifeline will usually offer a reduction in a phone bill of about $10-$15 per month. The credit, which is recurring and on a monthly basis, is applied to the primary phone being used in the home, whether it is a cell or some other type of home telephone. Lifeline also can’t be combined with the senior discount or any other serve indicated above.
The intent was to help prevent a shut off of a household’s home phone to ensure they have access to communications in an emergency. Therefore, it is for low income and working poor families in Arizona that meet roughly 150% of federal poverty guidelines. However each provider may set their own income ranges. Lifeline is also for people that are enrolled into a public assistance program, such as those listed below.
To apply for the discount, call your telecommunication company, such as AT&T or Verizon. Or call your local community action agency in Arizona, and they can also explore other financial assistance programs that families may be qualified for. Or consumers can dial (800) 582-5706, which is the Arizona regulator for this.
Division of Aging and Adult Services is closely involved in the Medically Needy Telephone Assistance Program. This will help ensure a phone is not disconnected and that the individual can call their doctor or hospital if needed. When applying, a medical professional needs to certify the application as being eligible for health care reasons. The individual also needs to meet low income guidelines that are in place.
For more information on any of these programs, residents can dial (800) 582-5706 to reach the TDP - Telephone Discount Program in Arizona. Or call your provider, as all companies participate.
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