What is a Lifeline Phone and Why Does it Matter in 2023?
Last Updated on January 9, 2023 by Salman Khan
Having access to modern resources online and by phone is critical for all members of the community, including low-income members. That’s why there are lifeline phone companies Oklahoma-based and other states offer to those most in need.
Lifeline phones were created by the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, to help provide low-income members with access to:
- Monthly telephone service
- Broadband Internet service
- Bundled voice-broadband packages
Who Qualifies For Lifeline Phones?
There are various requirements for people that are in need of a lifeline phone. Most importantly, people need to make up to 135% of the poverty guidelines associated with their state and with the year they are applying.
This means they fall a bit over the poverty line, and are in need of income assistance. In addition, if someone qualifies for federal income assistance, they might also qualify for lifeline phones. This includes:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Supplemental Security Income
- Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
- Certain Tribal Programs
Why Getting a Lifeline Phone Matters During the Pandemic
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 16.9 million people unemployed in July, 9.6 million were unable to work because their employers closed or lost business due to the pandemic.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people are struggling to stay connected. It’s helpful to reflect on the Lifeline program’s history, its relevance today, and how it helps people get and stay connected. The Lifeline program directly supports low-income households’ access to affordable — and in many instances no-cost — telecommunications services. It’s but one critical tool available to the federal government to help close the digital divide, a chasm that disproportionately impacts Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples.
For these people, loss of income has led to hardships and stress. Fortunately, with the help of lifeline phone companies and other federal assistance programs, these people can still have access to the basic tools needed to communicate with their families, apply for jobs, and get updated information such as news.
Now, more than ever, it’s important for people to have access to their families and open lines of communication with the outside world, no matter their income levels. That’s why lifeline phone companies are crucial.
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