Approximately one out of every eleven Florida households–or 852,255 eligible telecommunications customers–participate in the federal Lifeline Assistance (Lifeline) discount telephone program, according to the Florida Public Service Commission’s (PSC) annual Lifeline report.
“Lifeline provides the assistance many Floridians need to afford phone service to connect with family, friends, doctors, and employers,” said PSC Chairman Julie Brown. “With the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) new Lifeline rules, effective earlier this month, consumers can now apply their monthly Lifeline benefit toward broadband service, connecting them to voice and broadband services.”
In Florida, 19 telecommunication companies participate in the federal Lifeline program. Consumers who receive certain public assistance programs qualify for a minimum discount credit of $9.25 per month, or a free Lifeline cell phone with monthly minutes from certain wireless providers.
As in past years, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is the largest qualifying program for Lifeline Assistance in Florida. Based upon June 2016 SNAP participants, eligible households in need of Lifeline decreased by 14.8 percent compared to last year’s data.
Eligibility requirements and application access are highlighted at monthly PSC outreach events to increase Lifeline program awareness. The new FCC broadband rules and its existing rules limit benefits to one Lifeline discount per eligible household and require annual recertification. The PSC encourages Lifeline customers seeking broadband discounts to contact their carrier for availability.
Applying for Lifeline is easy — Florida residents can call their local phone company, the PSC at 1-800-342-3552, or the Office of Public Counsel (OPC) at 1-800-540-7039 for assistance. Information is also available on the PSC’s website, www.floridapsc.com, OPC’s website: http://www.floridaopc.gov/Pages/Lifeline.aspx and the FCC’s website: https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides/lifeline-support-affordable-communications.
For more information, visit www.FloridaPSC.com.
Follow the PSC on Twitter,@floridapsc.