Lifeline Telephone Service

Save Money on Your Phone Bill

New York State Lifeline Discounted Telephone Service is an assistance program offered by many telephone providers, including some wireless and cable companies, to help income eligible consumers save money on their phone bills.

What is Lifeline?

Lifeline helps you stay connected and save money on your monthly telephone bill. The Lifeline discount can be applied to either home telephone service (landline or cable) or wireless service. The discount is available for only one line per household.

What are the benefits?
  • The Lifeline program provides a monthly discount on residential telephone service to qualified low-income customers
  • Wireless customers can receive Lifeline benefits such as free minutes, reduced rates and free phones.
*Total savings and benefits will vary depending on your telephone service provider.

Key Provisions of the Program
  • Not all telephone and cable companies offer Lifeline. Click on this Lifeline-Providers  2017.pdfLifeline-Providers 2017.pdf for a list of participating companies, or you may contact your provider directly.
  • Customers must be income eligible to apply.
  • The Lifeline discount can be applied to either home telephone service or wireless service, but the discount is limited to one discount per household.
  • In 2016, the federal Lifeline program was expanded to include a discount on broadband service or bundled telephone/broadband service to qualified households.
  • Consumers will be required to provide documentation to prove if he or she is eligible to receive Lifeline.

Eligibility Guidelines
There are two ways consumers may be eligible for Lifeline benefits: if your income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines* or if you participate in any of the following assistance programs.

New York State Income Guidelines
Gross Annual
For each additional person added.$5,643

Note: Source, Federal Register, Vol. 82, No. 19, January 31, 2017, pp. 8831-8832

Eligible Programs
If you participate in any of the below programs you may qualify for lifeline
telephone service:
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly Food Stamps)
Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
Family Assistance
Safety Net Assistance
Free School Lunch Program
Non-Service Related Veteran’s Disability Pension or Veteran’s Surviving Spouse Pension

How to Apply?

You can apply for Lifeline directly through participating telephone companies. Contact your telephone company and ask about the program.
You can also obtain a list of landline and wireless companies that offer Lifeline in New York
State by visiting or calling 1-888-AskPSC1.

What is Tribal Lands Lifeline and Link-Up?

Tribal Lands programs provide additional benefits for eligible low-income consumers living on tribal lands. As part of the Tribal Lands Lifeline program, consumers receive additional discounts on their monthly bills. Under the Link Up program, some carriers offer a one-time discount of up to $100 on the initial installation or activation of a wireline or wireless telephone for the primary residence. Tribal Lands Link Up also enables subscribers to pay the remaining amount that they owe on a deferred schedule, interest-free.

Any Restrictions?

Only ONE Lifeline discount is allowed per household. The discount can be applied to a landline or a wireless service, but not at the same time.

Your "household" is everyone who lives together at your address as one economic unit, (including people who are not related to you). Adults living with you are part of the economic unit if they contribute to and share in the income and expenses of the household.