The Iowa Utilities Board is trying to get out the word about a program that helps Iowans pay for telephone service. Board spokesman, Rob Hillesland, says it’s part of “Lifeline Telephone Assistance Awareness Week.” He says many eligible Iowans don’t know that there is help available to help them afford and maintain telephone service.

The service helps pay for a land line or a for a cellphone with the wireless companies that are part of the program. Hillesland says there are actually two programs involved. Hillesland says there is Lifeline and Link Up. The Lifeline provides a 10 dollar discount a month for phone service and the Link Up provides a reduced cost to set up new phone service.

If you qualify for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program known as “LIHEAP”, then you qualify for the phone help too. Hillesland says if you are also eligible if qualify for Medicaid, the supplemental nutrition assistance program, supplemental security income program, the federal public housing assistance program, the temporary assistance to needy families program, and the national school lunch program.

There are also income guidelines under which you may also qualify. Hillesland says there’s an easy way to find out if you qualify.

He says the easy thing to do is to call your local phone provider, or the wireless provider of you choosing to ask them if they participate in the program and they can provide you with an application.

Hillesland says too much of the money in this program is going unused. Hillesland says there are a lot more people who’re eligible for the assistance, and are not aware of it. He says a lot of people also don’t know that the assistance can now be applied to a cellphone. More information is available on the program at the Iowa Utilities Board website