Florida’s Public Service Commission (PSC) is reminding Florida customers enrolled in the federal Lifeline Assistance (Lifeline) telephone discount program that they must annually certify their program eligibility with their telecommunications carrier.
Federal Lifeline program changes implemented last year to curb waste, fraud, and abuse require customers to annually certify their eligibility to continue receiving the monthly discount. In Florida, Lifeline subscribers declined by 34 percent (about 349,000 customers), from more than 1 million to approximately 680,000, according to results filed in December 2012.
“While it’s imperative to eliminate program abuse, we believe that most dropped Lifeline recipients were not aware of the new certification requirement and, as a result, lost their benefit,” said PSC Chairman Ronald A. Brisé. “In Florida’s still slow economy, Lifeline provides a much needed discount on qualified low-income residents’ monthly phone bills.”
Chairman Brisé continued, “Eligible customers can receive only one Lifeline benefit. If you are a qualified Lifeline subscriber, check your phone bill to ensure that you are receiving your discount. Contact your telecommunications carrier if you failed to respond to its annual Lifeline certification request and are eligible to recertify.”
Lifeline eligibility is based on income, at least 135 percent of the federal poverty level, or by participation in one of several federal assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, or SSI. Florida Lifeline subscribers receive at least a $9.25 discount on their monthly telephone bill or a free wireless telephone with a set amount of monthly minutes.
For more information on Lifeline or to access a program application, visit the PSC’s website, www.floridapsc.com, and look under Hot Topics on the homepage.
Follow the PSC on Twitter, @floridapsc.