What is Lifeline?
Lifeline is a government supported benefit for qualifying low-income consumers. The Lifeline Assistance Program provides discounts on basic monthly service for qualified telephone and internet customers. Lifeline assistance lowers the cost of basic monthly local telephone service or eligible internet service. Eligible consumers will receive a $9.25 per month credit.
Who is eligible for Lifeline?
You or someone in your household participates in one of the following federal assistance programs:
– Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP);
– Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
– Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) or Section 8;
– Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit Program;
– Your household income is at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines
What restrictions apply to Lifeline?
Lifeline benefits are limited to one per household, including landline phone, cell phones or internet service. (Household is defined, for purposes of the Lifeline program, as any individual or group of individuals who live together at the same address and share income and expenses.)
Lifeline is a non-transferrable benefit. Lifeline service may not be transferred to any other person.
Lifeline customers may be required to recertify their eligibility at any time and will be required to recertify on an annual basis. Failure to recertify will result in de-enrollment from the Lifeline program.
Lifeline customers must notify Dakota Central within 30 days if they move or their household is no longer eligible for the Lifeline program.
Number of minutes-of-use provided as part of Lifeline program:
Dakota Central’s Voice Lifeline Program includes unlimited local minutes-of-use within the toll-free calling area.
Additional charges for toll calls:
Dakota Central’s Voice Lifeline Program does not include any free minutes-of-use for toll. Toll is billed at the standard toll rate depending which interexchange carrier the Voice Lifeline customer selects.
Broadband provided as part of Lifeline program:
Dakota Central’s Broadband Lifeline Program includes at least 150GB per month at a minimum of 10/1 download/upload speeds.
Lifeline program minimum service period:
Effective December 2, 2016, Lifeline customers are required to remain with their service providers for a minimum period before they can transfer their benefit to another carrier.
– Telephone Only – 60 days
– Premium Connection – 60 days
– Basic or Social Internet Only – 12 months
– Net Connection, Ultimate Connection or VIP Connection – 12 months
Lifeline Program Certification:
Eligible customers must complete and sign a Lifeline application form, attach documentation of Lifeline eligibility, and send the completed, signed form and documentation to Dakota Central before any Lifeline benefits can be provided. Information required to receive Lifeline benefits include: full name, full residential address, permanent or temporary residence, billing address (if different from residential address, date of birth, last 4 digits of social security number and proof of program eligibility. Applications that are incomplete, not signed, or do not have supporting documentation of eligibility will be denied.
Dakota Central will confirm customer’s eligibility based on customer provided documentation. Dakota Central will confirm the customer is eligible to receive Lifeline program benefits and is not already receiving Lifeline program benefits from another carrier with NLAD.
Dakota Central will record the following information based on supporting documentation: date or expiration date of documentation, identifying information about documentation provided, date it was reviewed, method the documentation was provided (fax, mail, electronically, or in person), name of the employee who reviewed documentation, name of the documentation demonstrating program participation (if different from name of applicant), certification that the individual named on the documentation who is demonstrating program participation is part of the applicant’s household (if different from name of applicant).
Dakota Central will retain the application and the documentation provided for eligibility.
Lifeline Program Recertification:
Dakota Central’s Lifeline Program recertification will be done on an annual basis.
De-enrolling Lifeline Program Customers:
Dakota Central Lifeline Program customers have an obligation to inform Dakota Central if they no longer qualify for Lifeline Program benefits. Customers who become ineligible must de-enroll by contacting Dakota Central directly.
In addition, there are several other situations that might result in a subscriber being de-enrolled from discounts including the following:
– If Dakota Central has a reasonable basis to believe a customer is no longer an eligible consumer, Dakota Central will send the customer a notice of impending termination. The customer has 30 days from the date of the impending termination letter to demonstrate continued eligibility by re-certifying his or her continued eligibility.
-If USAC, the administrator of universal service, provides notification to a telecommunications carrier that a subscriber has more than one discounted account, or that more than one member of a subscriber’s household is receiving service, Dakota Central will de-enroll the subscriber within five business days.
-Customers have an obligation to re-certify annually that only one member of their household receives program-supported service and they continue to be eligible. If the customer fails to provide the requested certification within the 30-day notification period, Dakota Central will de-enroll the subscriber from program-supported service within five business days from the end of the 30-day notification. Dakota Central can de-enroll a customer who fails to re-certify after an initial 30-day notification; Dakota Central does not need to provide 30 days in addition to the initial notification and request for certification.
Where can the consumer get more information on the Lifeline Program?