Do You Qualify For Reduced Phone Rates through Lifeline?
Every person in America should have access to quality and affordable telecommunications services. This principle of “Universal Service” has been a goal of the telecommunications industry for decades. Congress enacted the Telecommunications Act of 1934 and reaffirmed these principles in 1996 for the “preservation and advancement of Universal Service.”
As of August 1, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) mandated a reduction in Lifeline support, which reduced the total non-tribal federal credits to $9.25. Beginning December 1, 2019, the FCC started their transition in the Lifeline program towards internet. If eligible, Lifeline subscribers receive a credit of $7.25 per month on their local home phone service. If the customer subscribes to internet service, they can receive a credit towards their internet service of $9.25 per month, instead of the $7.25 per month credit towards the phone. If the customer’s location is eligible to receive a speed of 20/3 Mbps or better, the customer must subscribe to a package of that speed or greater. If customer does not subscribe to a package with a speed of 20/3 Mbps or greater, they are eligible to receive the $7.25 per month discount. If the customer’s location is not capable of receiving a speed of 20/3 Mbps, the $9.25 per month credit can be applied to the highest speed available under 20/3 Mbps. Additionally, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (“NMPRC”) has authorized an additional $3.50 state credit that allows qualified Lifeline subscribers a total $12.75 monthly credit towards their local telephone bill. Total bill may vary depending on additional customer-selected services or charges such as long distance.
Enhanced Tribal Lifeline
The FCC also established separate guidelines for Tribal Lifeline assistance, which set a maximum credit limit up to $25.00, but the customer’s bill for local services cannot be less than $0.00. Currently the monthly charges for local telephone service for customers eligible for Tribal Lifeline assistance is $0.00.
What types of discounts are available?
- Lifeline assistance lowers the cost of basic monthly local telephone services, by the allowable discount credits.
- Toll Limitation Service support allows all Lifeline eligible consumers who wish to avoid incurring long distance charges to have “toll blocking” services at no charge.
- Tribal Link-Up is also available for eligible customers living on tribal lands. This is a one-time credit up to $100.00 for the initial installation of local telephone service.
WNM Communications supports and follows the guidelines set forth by the FCC and NMPRC. Individuals are eligible if they participate in one of the following programs:
- Medicaid Program
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Food Stamp Program
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program
- Federal Public Housing Assistance Program
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- National School Lunch Program, or
- Household Income is at or below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines
Enhanced Tribal Lifeline (In addition to Lifeline programs)
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Tribally Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Head Start (only those meeting is income qualifying standard)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.
- You may also qualify if your Annual Household Income is at or below 150% of the federal poverty level guidelines (see chart below). (Verification of income is required.)
135% of 2020 Federal Poverty Guidelines:
|Persons in Household||Annual Household income no higher than:|
This program is available for existing or new customers and applies to local-basic-service only. Giving false information or failure to notify WNM Communications when and if you no longer qualify may require you to pay for reduced rates given in error. For more information or questions, please contact our office. Or call the NMPRC at 1-505-827-4592 or visit the NMPRC Website.