telephone photo 

From the Michigan Public Service Commission

LANSING, MI — As part of Lifeline Awareness Week, the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) today highlighted the discount telephone service available to low-income and eligible senior customers in Michigan.

 According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), at least half of the telephone customers who are eligible for the Lifeline program do not take advantage of the monthly discounts available to them.  One major wireless provider notes that its average Lifeline customer is a grandmother, raising her grandchildren on only $12,000 per year; and nearly a third of its Lifeline customers are over 55 years old.

Whether it’s used to get help in an emergency, find a job, or connect with family, telephone service is truly essential,” said MPSC Chairman John D. Quackenbush.  “The Lifeline program provides substantial discounts – up to $148 a year for certain customers.  Without question, the Lifeline program can be a lifeline for low-income telephone customers.”

 To qualify for Lifeline in Michigan, the customer’s household income must be at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, or the customer must participate in one of the following assistance programs:  Medicaid; food stamps; supplemental security income (SSI); federal public housing assistance (Section 8); the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP); the national school free lunch program; or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

 All landline telephone service providers and some wireless telephone service providers offer Lifeline discounts in Michigan.  To apply, customers should contact their local telephone or wireless provider. Rules permit one discount per household. 

 According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), at least half of the telephone customers who are eligible for the Lifeline program do not take advantage of the monthly discounts available to them.  One major wireless provider notes that its average Lifeline customer is a grandmother, raising her grandchildren on only $12,000 per year; and nearly a third of its Lifeline customers are over 55 years old.

 The FCC recently implemented comprehensive reforms to modernize the program and reduce burdens on carriers by establishing a uniform, interim flat rate of reimbursement, allowing carriers to obtain a subscriber’s signature electronically and streamlining enrollment through uniform, nationwide eligibility criteria.  These reforms – and others — saved over $200 million in 2012 and are on track to save $2 billion by the end of 2014.

 The MPSC’s Lifeline consumer tips sheet reflects the latest changes to the program, including income guidelines and other details.

  More information is also available on the federal Lifeline website: lifeline.gov.

 

 Photo by Stuart Hull

 

 

 

 

 

 

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