In Idaho, you can get help with your cell phone service or your landline phone service. There are two programs in Idaho that can help low income families with their phone service. They are called Lifeline and Link-Up. They are part of the Idaho Telephone Service Assistance Program (ITSAP).
If you are eligible, you will either get a monthly discount on your phone bill, or you will get help setting up your service. This means that if someone is low on money, they can still get help with things like connecting to the internet or getting a cell phone. The amount of money you can save is not very much, and may only be $10-$20 per month. This discount can often make a big difference for households that are living in poverty, as many low-income families rely on this discount to keep their phone service active each month.
This program provides a subsidy for one telephone per household. The applicant has the choice to insure either a cell phone or a landline phone. If a family in Idaho decides to apply the discount to their mobile phone, some companies (including Safelink Wireless) may offer them a free government telephone if they sign a contract with the company.
There are many guidelines in place regarding income. Idaho follows the same guidelines as the federal government. In order to receive telephone bill assistance from ITSAP, you must meet the following requirements. Applicants need to make less money than 135 percent of what is considered the poverty line by the federal government. This means that they can get help from the government with things like food and housing.
The household may be eligible for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), SNAP Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Section 8 Federal Public Housing Assistance, Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), or the National School Lunch Programs Free Lunch Program. There are a few key benefits programs in Idaho that can help a family in need.
Telephone companies must offer discounts to customers who are enrolled in a program. This means that if someone has a cell phone from Verizon or AT&T, or a landline from a local telephone company in Idaho, those companies are required to participate. There are also some small companies that have their own wireless networks. Customers can call their phone provider to inquire about Link-Up or Lifeline. People can apply for either one of the two options.
The Idaho Telephone Service Assistance Program (ITSAP) is a program that helps low-income residents pay for telephone services. The program is funded by the Universal Service Fund (USF), which is a fund that is used to support communication services for all Americans. Each cell phone company and local telephone provider in Idaho is required to pay fees to the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The money collected from the tax goes to provide savings to families with low incomes.
The vast majority of cell and phone bill assistance provided by ITSAP goes to at-risk individuals living in Idaho. Many people who receive benefits from the government are senior citizens, disabled, single mothers, or people who are unable to leave their homes. These groups should always have access to a phone for emergency communication. Without a support system, they (and their kids) could be in danger if a medical or other emergency were to occur.
One of the main goals of the Universal Service Fund is to make sure that everyone has access to communication services. This means that households that may have difficulty paying for communication services will still be able to access them at an affordable price. If someone is only just managing to cover their costs each month, Lifeline may be able to help them pay for a phone. ORS Link-Up will help pay the connection fees for low-income households.
For more information on the Idaho Telephone Service Assistance Program, please contact your local community action agency in Idaho or the Department of Health and Welfare in your county. To find out about a phone service, you can call the company that provides it.