There are two main programs available to help with phone bills in Pennsylvania. The first discount, Lifeline 135, is a government-supported discount that has been enhanced by the state. The Universal Telephone Assistance Program provides financial assistance for paying bills or preventing disconnections. There is more information on these services for low income customers below.
Lifeline 135 provides discounts on its products and services. The Pennsylvania Telephone Discount Plan is a program that provides a discount on monthly telephone service for eligible customers. All telephone companies in Pennsylvania participate in the program, and it can even be used for cell phones. There are many companies that support the use of VoIP technology, including CenturyLink Data Services, AT&T, Frontier Communications, Verizon, Sprint, Cricket, and many others. If the applicant is unsure if they qualify for the Lifeline program, they should contact their service provider for more information about enrolling in the program.
This means that when Pennsylvania created this, they increased the amount of money that customers can make. This means that families who earn less than 135% of the poverty guidelines set by the federal government may be eligible for a discount, with the amount varying each year.
Even if it’s a small amount, saving on your phone bill every month can really help out. This will make it easier for beneficiaries to budget. This means that if a household wants caller ID, they will have to pay for it themselves, outside of the normal monthly payment for phone service.
Some telephone service providers in Pennsylvania offer a discount on the cost of installation for new service, with a focus on home phone service. This usually refers to people who have a disability or are elderly and have a low income.
The program is also available for households that receive benefits from the government. If someone in your household receives benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI), grants from the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Medicaid, or Food Stamps, they may be eligible for Lifeline 135.
When someone applies for food stamps or other government benefits, they must show that they need the money by providing proof of income and other documentation. If any of the information provided during the application process is incorrect, the application may be denied or, if the applicant already has a discount in effect, that discount may be canceled and the applicant may be required to repay any money that was received as a result of the discount.
Customers need to certify their eligibility every year to stay enrolled. If the government benefits they receive stop or if their income goes up, they will not be able to get any type of savings. Other cell phone carriers besides AT&T may have different income limits in place. Those carriers can provide advice on their income limits if necessary. This means that each household can only have one phone line with Lifeline 135.
The Universal Telephone Assistance Program (UTAP) is a program that helps people in Pennsylvania pay for their phone bills. If you are a Verizon customer, you will likely experience good service. UTAP can help prevent a customer’s cellular or home phone service from being shut off, and there is assistance for overdue bills. There may be funds available to help pay for a reconnection if needed. Some older people have found this helpful because it allows them to stay connected with family or doctors.
Applying for phone bill help in Pennsylvania
The FCC is in full support of Lifeline in Pennsylvania. There need to be some type of resources available to low income customers, even though each company may have their own enrollment policy or slightly different eligibility requirements. The FCC will oversee and regulate the phone companies from a national level to make sure that all terms and conditions are being met by both consumers and the phone companies. If you want to find out more information, you can either dial 1-800-692-7380 or check with your current telecommunications provider.