Georgia Lifeline telephone discount program.
Families across Georgia can receive discounts on their phone bills from Lifeline. The federal government created, but state regulated, program can help income qualified households save money on their monthly costs. While conditions of the program can change on an annual basis as they are set by the Public Service Commission, it is only for one phone per household, and it needs to be their main unit. Or another option is that Lifeline can help pay for one cellular phone per address.
The intent of Lifeline is to ensure that all households have some form of emergency communication available to them. This can be even more important for someone with a medical condition or maybe a senior citizen that is struggling. Another benefit is that it can help prevent a shut off of their service and even help pay a portion of a connection fee for a new phone.
While applications are processed by each wireless or phone company, the Georgia Public Service Commission oversees the process. This organization will ensure that people are treated fairly and that they receive all of the benefits that are entitled too. Anyone that feels they are not receiving the discount they are due, that person should call the commission.
In order to enroll, call the phone company that provides the household with service. All major cell and home phone companies in Georgia offer it. This includes, but is not limited to, Verizon, T Mobile, Cricket, AT&T, Sprint, and smaller companies such as Virgin and US Cell. However, the general guidelines that need to be met are below.
- Lifeline discounts are provided to people that meet low income guidelines based on about 150% of poverty guidelines.
- Only one phone per home is eligible, regardless of how many people live there.
- Applicants can be eligible if they receive benefits, such as Federal Public Housing Assistance, LIHEAP, Section 8, TANF, Medicaid, or food stamps.
If anyone that lives in the household gets help from the government, then they may qualify. For example, if a child receives a free lunch as part of the nutrition program, that entire home may be able to enroll into Lifeline. However, Georgia will always require proof of income and the assistance being received. If an application is misrepresented, then the participant will need to repay the state any discounts they were provided and they will face other actions.
One other area that seems to cause confusion is on the number of phones per home or if it can help with paying for a connection fee. Georgia will only allow one cell or landline to be covered per address. As far as an installation fee, in some cases a portion of that bill can be paid as well as part of Link-Up, which is another resource. So consumers do have options, and they should always call their provider and refer to these government programs to see what they may qualify for.
Seniors in Georgia can enroll as well. They may qualify if they meet low income guidelines or receive benefits from the federal government. In addition, anyone that is enrolled into the low-income discount plan offered by their local gas or power company, such as Georgia Power, will be qualified for Lifeline as well, and this program assists tens of thousands of elderly people in the state.
People will receive a discount on their bill in the form of a credit, but it does not apply to any extra features, such as call waiting. The savings will be about $10 per month or so, however that amount can change. Lifeline only runs for one year as well, and at that time the household will need to reapply and they will also need to meet all income conditions at that point in time.
How to apply for phone bill help (or free telephones) in Georgia
To enroll, call your telephone company. Customer service representatives can advise customers on the latest guidelines and help approve them for a discount. Or, if someone is being unfairly denied access, they should call the Georgia Public Service Commission at (800) 282-5813 and bring the matter to their attention. They oversee it in partnership with the Federal Communications Commission.