2013-09-20 / Community

Phone Discounts:A Lifeline

The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) recently announced a “Lifeline Awareness Week” to encourage income-eligible customers to sign up for a discount on telephone service through the Lifeline program.

The program provides qualified consumers with discounts for monthly residential phone bills for basic telephone service.

“As part of a national effort, the Commission wants to raise awareness of this important and valuable program that provides discounts to low-income New Yorkers who can’t afford basic residential telephone service,” said Commission Chair Audrey Zibelman. “Along with raising awareness of Lifeline and increasing enrollment, we will work to ensure that the program benefits those who qualify, and that Lifeline providers comply with strict federal and State eligibility rules.”

PSC sponsored a kickoff event at the Albany Public Library on Monday, September 9th, to launch the initiative.

PSC will be sponsoring various consumer events across the State throughout September.

In addition, consumer and community leaders across the State have been provided with a packet of Lifeline informational materials to educate their communities about the program and how to participate.

Under the Lifeline program, wireline customers receive a waiver of the federal subscriber line charge, a savings of at least $75 annually, as well as a discount on their basic local service charge. The total discount varies depending on the local telephone service provider and the program includes some wireless and cellular service providers.

Customers participating or eligible to participate in the following programs— Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP), Food Stamps, Medicaid, Veterans’ Disability or Surviving Spouse Pension, Family Assistance or the Safety Net Assistance programs—are eligible for the Lifeline program discount for basic residential telephone service.

Only low-income consumers with proof of eligibility are qualified to enroll. Only one Lifeline benefit is permitted per household and federal rules prohibit customers from receiving more than one Lifeline service. Existing Lifeline subscribers must recertify their eligibility every year.

Additional information and application forms for the Lifeline program, as well as a calendar displaying events where Lifeline information will be distributed, are available on the Commission’s www.AskPSC.com consumer website.

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