Tuesday, September 14, 2010


In these times with so many struggling to get by, it is important that everyone understand all of the assistance that is available to help people stay afloat.

Lifeline" and "Link-Up" are programs that ensure that all Americans can get basic telephone service, by providing limited discounts to consumers who might not otherwise be able to afford service. Lifeline involves discounts on the cost of monthly telephone service, and Link-Up involves a discount on the cost of initiating telephone service. The discount is available for the primary residential telephone, even if that phone is wireless.

The programs have been in place since the 1980s, administered by the federal government and the state public utility commissions, but, nationally, only about a third of low-income consumers who are eligible for the programs participate. To find out about how the discount works in your state and how to apply, go to http://www.lifelinesupport.org.

The Federal Communications Commission, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, and National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates have adopted the first full week after Labor Day as “National Lifeline and Link Up Telephone Discount Awareness Week.”

During the week of September 13 – 19, 2010, federal and state agencies and consumer advocates will be calling attention to the availability of these programs to ensure that more eligible consumers understand that this assistance is available. Several outreach tools to assist you are available at http://www.naruc.org/lifeline/default.cfm.