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.
COVID-19 Update:

While maintaining the social distancing needed to slow the spread of the coronavirus, it is critical that Americans have the connectivity they need to stay in touch with loved ones, telework, search for jobs, and participate in remote learning and telehealth.

To provide relief for consumers who have recently lost their jobs, the FCC has temporarily eased the documentation requirements for those who seek to qualify for the Lifeline program based on their income. You can find more information by clicking on the link below:

Consumers may also be eligible for discounts on broadband service and certain connected devices under the federal Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. You can find more information by clicking the link below

What are the Benefits?

Qualifying consumers can apply for Lifeline to receive a monthly discount on either their landline telephone service or their wireless service. Lifeline benefits include:
  • A bill credit and a waiver of the federal subscriber line charge for landline customers.
  • Mobile data usage and/or voice usage allowances and reduced rates for wireless customers.
  • Additional discounts may also apply.

*Total savings and benefits will vary depending on your telephone service provider.

Key Provisions of the Program
  • Lifeline is only available to income eligible customers. See below for eligibility guidelines.
  • Eligible customers may only receive one Lifeline discount service at a time; the discount can be applied to either home telephone service or wireless service, but not both. In addition, only one Lifeline discount is available per household. “Household” is defined as any individual or group of individuals who live together at the same address.
  • Lifeline subscribers must recertify annually that they are eligible to participate in the program and that they and their household only receive one Lifeline discount. Lifeline enrollees are obligated to respond to recertification requests: customers who fail to recertify will be de-enrolled from the program.

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.

Lifeline Eligibility Guidelines

In New York State, consumers can qualify for the Lifeline program based on the following eligibility criteria:

Income Based: Your income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
Government Assistance Programs: You participate in one of the programs listed in the chart below.
    Household Size
    Household Income
    Add $6,129 for each additional person.
    Source -Universal Service Administrative Co.

    September 10,2021

    Visit or call
    1-800-234-9473 for the latest income guidelines.
    Federal Programs
    State Programs
    Supplemental Security Income (SSI)Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
    Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly Food StampsFamily Assistance/Safety Net Assistance
    MedicaidNational School Lunch Program
    Federal Public Housing Assistance
    Veteran’s Pension and Survivors Benefit
    Tribal Programs including:
    • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
    • Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
    • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
    • Tribal Lands Head Start (if income eligibility criteria are met)
    How to Apply

    The method to apply for Lifeline is based on the different eligibility criteria:

    Income Level

      • Apply through the administrator of the federal Lifeline program - the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). Visit the USAC website at to verify eligibility and apply for the program.
    Participation in a Federal Assistance Program
      • Apply through the USAC. Visit the USAC website at to verify eligibility and apply for the program.
    Participation in a State Assistance Program
    Click here for a printable version of our Lifeline Telephone Service brochure.