Florida Lifeline Telephone Assistance Program

June 8, 2021

The Lifeline program offers discounted telecommunications service for qualified low-income customers

Households that meet low income guidelines or receive public benefits, may enroll into the LifeLine program. Florida will provide residents with discounts on their cellular or home telephone bills as part of this. It is available to families that receive some form of government assistance, as noted below, or that meet low income guidelines. There are discounts or credits provided to residents on their basic service charge, the savings are available for both cell phones as well as a household's home telephone service. Assistance is also provided when starting a new phone service, Lifeline or Link-Up, this can help pay the connection costs or deposits in Florida.

In general, the customer needs to contact their cell phone provider to apply for or to request the discount. That company can also provide more information on the application process, however, it is a good idea for individuals to already have this information so they are knowledgeable when going through the process. “This is a great service for people in need, I have many customers who have benefited.” said John from the local Boost Mobile. “I will be happy to assist you if you have any questions about this benefit, they can call my store at: (954) 921-3552.” The state of Florida can also help with processing applications for Lifeline, for more information or to visit the Public Service Commission office, Call: 1 (800) 540-7039.

As indicated, the credit is for people that receive some type of benefit from the state or federal government, or that meet low income guidelines. These criteria will depend on the number of people in the household too. As a general guideline, families might be eligible for Lifeline, if the household’s total income is less than 150% of the poverty guidelines that are established by the federal government. Anyone seeking a credit based on these low income levels will also need to have proof of it through their household savings and other information.

For people enrolled into some form of public assistance, they will automatically qualify for a reduction in their bills. The programs that will qualify households include: Supplement Security Income (SSI), National School Lunch Program, LIHEAP, Medicaid, SNAP Food Stamps or Section 8 Housing. There are others that qualify as well, however those are some of the most common programs that Lifeline customers receive. Proof of receipt of these benefits will be required from any applicants and they can call their cellular provider to enroll or the state, for more information.

Whether someone meets the income thresholds or benefit guidelines noted above, please note, if they have a free phone from from another cell carrier, then they may not be qualified for the Florida service. Individuals can decide to cancel those phones if they want, but Florida will not allow residents to enroll into multiple telephone assistance programs. Individuals can therefore only receive savings, on one phone, per household.

If the state approves someone for the LifeLine discount, they will need to re-enroll each year. The income and/or other criteria will need to be satisfied on an annual basis. This is a time defined program, that is limited in scope and duration.

Many people of all income levels have been turning to pre-paid cell providers in order to save money on their monthly bills. These companies will also generally participate in the Lifeline program, there may be other providers as well and the list, may change.

So called standard telecommunication companies that may offer discounts include the major, national providers. However, many other smaller companies that operate in Florida, may also provide credits to income qualified customers. The state the Office of the Public Counsel, can provide the latest list.

Whether a free telephone (or cell phone), financial aid for bills or discounts, assistance is offered in Florida, with a focus on senior citizens as well as very low income families. The program is administered by the Office of the Public Counsel. The mailing address is: 111 West Madison Street, Room 812, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1400. More information is also available, by calling: 1 (800) 540-7039. You can also go to your local Boost Mobile stores for more information at the following locations: 900 North Federal Highway (US-1 & Johnson Street), you can call them at: (954) 391-7507 • 2426 Sheridan Street (Oakwood Plaza Shops), you can call them at: (954) 391-9021 • 105 South Federal Highway (Across from Grampa’s & Jaxon’s Ice Cream), you can call them at: (954) 613-5191 • 1945 Pembroke Road (Across from The Big Easy Casino, Formerly, The Mardi Gras Casino), you can call them at: (954) 251-3552.