`Lifeline’ program provides discounts on phone, internet service

As the problems of lack of internet connectivity become more apparent during remote learning, state officials are promoting “Lifeline Awareness Week,” to draw attention to a program that provides low-income Kansans with discounts on internet and phone service.

Federal and state discounts of up to $17.02 per month are available through the Lifeline program, which serves 35,000 people in Kansas and 10 million nationwide. Subscribers living on tribal lands qualify for additional discounts.

As part of National Lifeline Awareness Week, Sept. 14-18, the Kansas Corporation Commission wants to make Kansans aware of this valuable resource.

This year, a new National Verifier program helps speed up the approval process for applicants enrolled in assistance programs by quickly confirming Lifeline eligibility. Residents enrolled in any of the following assistance programs may be eligible for the Lifeline program: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Federal Public Housing Assistance (FHPA), Veterans Pension & Survivors Pension Benefit, Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribally Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Head Start Tribal Programs (only those meeting its income qualifying standard), and the Food Distribution Program on Tribal Lands.

Those at 135% of the federal poverty level also qualify with income documentation. This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the requirement of three months of income documentation was waived until Nov. 30 to allow recently unemployed individuals to apply for the program by submitting an official document, including notice of unemployment benefits to confirm their income-based eligibility.

More information about Lifeline eligibility, participating providers and the enrollment process is available on the KCC’s website at: https://kcc.ks.gov/telecommunications/lifeline.

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