The Importance of Lifeline Recertification and How to Get It Done

All Lifeline and ACP (Affordable Connectivity Program) subscribers must recertify annually. This process requires that you prove to the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) or your phone or internet provider that you are still eligible for Lifeline.

You’ll get a notification letter and recertification form in the mail or receive an automated call from USAC. You will no longer receive Lifeline assistance if you don’t respond within 60 days of the deadline in your letter.

Stay on Top of Notifications

If you’re a Lifeline subscriber, it is essential to always read and respond to notifications or letters from your service provider. Before losing access to free calls, text, and data services, you must comply. It is also crucial to know that recertification is required annually.

The Lifeline administrator, USAC, will send you a letter every year requesting you to confirm your eligibility for the program. It is crucial because if you don’t react within the deadline (described in the letter), you’ll forfeit your award. Your monthly bill may increase, or your service could be disconnected.

You can recertify by phone or online. You require your application ID on your renewal letter or SMS messages. You can recertify by phone in about five minutes using an automated system available in English and Spanish. You can recertify by mail or online.

You may ask for a delay if you cannot recertify by the deadline specified in your letter. The lifeline recertification process is easy to complete online. Ensure your letter-based extension request reaches the recipient by the specified date. If you don’t do this, you’ll lose your Lifeline discount.

Be Prepared

If you know what to anticipate, you’ll find it easier to be ready to take the right actions if you need a Lifeline recertification. You will be notified by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) or your phone company that it is time for you to recertify. This notification will include a recertification application ID# and the date you must recertify. You may also receive reminders by mail, pre-recorded phone calls, or text messages.

It would be best if you reaffirmed that the data you previously supplied is correct and that no other members of your home are currently receiving Lifeline assistance. It will require proof verified with federal databases to ensure that only one Lifeline account is used per household. You risk being dropped from the program if you cannot provide evidence that you do not share a residence with another Lifeline assistance customer.

In addition, all eligible telecommunications carriers must obtain written consent from each subscriber before transmitting the Lifeline eligibility information to the National Lifeline Accountability Database or the National Verifier. The carrier must describe to the subscriber, in clear and understandable language, the specific information that will be transmitted and the purpose for which it is being transmitted.

Get Organized

The Lifeline program offers eligible low-income households free phone and internet service. Participants must recertify their eligibility each year to continue to benefit from the program. To recertify, the participant must contact their provider, fill out a form, or answer some questions over the phone. The form will ask the participant to confirm that they still qualify for Lifeline and that no one else in their household receives it. Each company may approach the recertification process slightly differently, but all should follow the same basic steps.

For nearly 30 years, the Lifeline program has given qualified low-income Americans the telephone connection they need to find jobs, access healthcare, and connect with loved ones. According to the law, the Commission must ensure that the program stays faithful to its aim of giving individuals in need a “hand up, not a handout.”

To accomplish this, the Commission is seeking input on various issues that could raise the efficacy and efficiency of the program. For example, many states have successfully brought efficiencies to verifying Lifeline eligibility by establishing state-based databases. The Commission is interested in assessing whether it makes sense to develop comparable systems nationally and the costs and advantages of such an approach for providers and contributors to the Universal Service Fund.

Get Help

If you receive Lifeline service, you must recertify your eligibility each year. Maintaining your monthly call, text, and data discounts is necessary. If you cannot complete your recertification within 60 days of being notified, your Lifeline benefit may be turned off, and you will have to reapply.

USAC (the administrator of the Lifeline program) will send a letter to all subscribers who are required to recertify. The letter will include your application ID and renewal instructions. They will also provide a reminder by phone, text, or email.

In most circumstances, they will only ask you to do something more if they can determine your eligibility from the data they already have on file. If they cannot verify your eligibility or your residence or income documentation has changed since the last time, they will ask you to recertify your eligibility.

You will lose your Lifeline services and increase your monthly charge if you don’t recertify before the deadline. You can complete your recertification online or over the phone by speaking into an interactive automated speech system available in both English and Spanish. You can check your recertification status right now, and the procedure should only take five minutes.

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