The Iowa Utilities Board is trying to get out the word once again on a program called “Lifeline Assistance.” IUB telecommunications specialist Joni Nicoll says the program helps some Iowans pay for their phone. “The Lifeline Assistance Program offers a reduction in the service charge for a phone service. If you are qualified –it’s a low income program — so if you are qualified, you can get up to nine dollars and 25 cents reduced from you telephone bill,” Nicoll says.
The assistance is given each month. Nicoll says there are a couple of ways to qualify. She says if your household income is at or below 135-percent of the federal poverty guidelines you can qualify. If you are also receiving federal programs like Medicaid of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, you can qualify.
It is a federal program and you must apply to receive the benefit. “The first thing you’ll need to do is just contact the telephone provider of your choice and ask them if they provide the Lifeline Program through their company. If they do, then you’ll just need to get an application from them,” Nicoll says. She says you can get the assistance for a land-line or wireless phone.
Those who are already enrolled in the program will get a notice each year. “Once you qualify, then you have to agree to recertify every year with telephone provider that you still qualify for the program,” Nicoll says. “So, the telephone company will contact you annually and you’ll have to fill out a little form that says ‘yes I still qualify.'”
She says many Iowans have receive the assistance each year. “In Iowa, according to the statistics that we have collected from the providers that offer Lifeline Service in Iowa — in 2013 we had a little over 38-thousand people who were eligible and received Lifeline Services,” Nicoll There’s a national Lifeline Week event will be held September 8-14th to bring awareness to the program.
You can find out more about the program, and get an application form, on the Iowa Utilities Board’s website at:www.state.ia.us/iub.