New Jersey Lifeline telephone and energy bill assistance program.
Various utility bills are covered by Lifeline. The state and federal government supported program assists with paying home telephone, natural gas, cellular, and electric bills. Qualified families, including tenants that rent their home, will generally receive a credit or even a check from the state as part of Lifeline.
There are numerous conditions in place, and the program is limited in scope. Applications are reviewed and processed by the state (in applying for NJ SHARES) or your phone company, if applying for the communications Lifeline program. Any type of aid will also only last for one year and recipients will need to reapply each year. More details on who it can help in New Jersey, as well as some general guidelines on the application process, is below.
There are a few forms of assistance provided by Lifeline. They include the following.
- Credits are available for gas as well as electric bills. A credit of around $200 or so can be provided to each applicant, and this is available across the state.
- The disabled or anyone that receives SSI (Supplemental Security Income) may receive some form of discount or credit as well on their energy bills, such as phone or gas.
- People who rent their home or apartment in New Jersey can also receive a monthly reduction on their energy and gas bills, if they meet other program terms. In some cases, a check will be mailed out to them.
- Discounts can be provided as part of Lifeline for low income families that have a home or cellular phone.
A number of conditions are place. In order to receive a check from the state which will help with paying their natural gas or electric bills, the applicant must meet some or maybe all of the following. They must be either enrolled, or meet the requirements of PAAD, or Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled. Or the applicant can be enrolled into Medical Assistance Only (MAO), taking part in New Jersey Care, or be receiving Medical Assistance to the Aged.
If you are in the process of applying for these benefits, then that may be enough to qualify for Lifeline. Ask the state or NJ SHARES when applying for any type of public aid if this applies to you. Also, people that receive SSI - Supplemental Security Income will also have the benefits automatically provided to them.
Lifeline also helps with telephone bills. This is run in partnership with NJ SHARES as well as cellular or other phone companies, such as Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and others. The goal of this communication component is to ensure that New Jersey residents have a phone in an emergency, so the program can help reduce a customer’s bills to make them more affordable.
This communication program can be a little more inclusive than the one that is for electric bills. The savings on phone bills can be provided to those that receive federal government aid, including food stamps (SNAP), Home Energy Assistance Program, Section 8 Federal Public Housing Rental Program, General Assistance, free lunches, Medicaid and others. There is also an income component, and New Jersey residents facing poverty or that are low income may also receive help with their phone bills, even if it is a wireless unit. In addition, the state will also put priority on both seniors as well as people that are enrolled into PADD.
Proof of income and recipient of benefits will also be required. Or, there is also the Native American Lifeline component of the program for those living on federal land.
Only one type of phone will be covered per household, regardless of size. In some limited cases there may be help for paying either a reconnection or set up fee. Also, the energy component of Lifeline will also only help one person or tenant in the home or on the lease. So the state benefits can’t be doubled up and combined together.
For more information on the telephone discounts, call your telecommunications provider and ask them about it. For information on electricity or gas bills, dial NJ SHARES at 1-800-792-9745.