The Washington Telephone Assistance Program (WTAP) provides assistance to low-income households.
WTAP is designed to make sure low-income families throughout the state have affordable telephone service for access to vital resources and emergency services.
Funding for the program comes from an excise tax on all landline telephone lines. The Department of Revenue establishes the excise tax rate in May each year. The current excise tax rate for WTAP is $0.14 per month.
WTAP pays up to half of the connection fee to start your phone service if there is already a phone line in your home.
You will not have to pay a deposit when you sign up for the WTAP program.
Low monthly charge
Basic local phone service is $8 a month plus taxes and fees. WTAP pays for only one local phone line per household. The assistance program does not pay for long-distance calls or optional services such as Call Waiting, Caller ID or Voicemail.
For people who cannot get local phone service, WTAP may provide a voice mailbox service. If you do not qualify for the WTAP program, you may be eligible for a free voice mailbox through the Community Voice Mail program, for more information visit www.cvm.org.
How to qualify
You qualify if you receive financial assistance from the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), such as:
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Food Stamps
- Supplemental Security Income
- Medical Assistance
- Refugee Assistance
- DSHS Chore Services
- Community Options Program
- General Assistance
Tribal Lifeline and Link-Up Programs
If you live on a federally recognized reservation, you may be able to save even more money on your phone bill through the federal Tribal Lifeline and Link-Up programs. Call your local phone company to find out if you qualify for this program. For more information on Tribal Lifeline and Link-Up, visit www.fcc.gov/indians/financialassistance.
Some wireless phone companies offer federal Lifeline assistance. Lifeline benefits may be applied to only one type of service, landline or wireless, and to one line per household. If you receive WTAP assistance on your landline service, you are not eligible to receive Lifeline benefits on your wireless service. If you are eligible for assistance, you must choose which service would best fit your needs. Contact your wireless company to see if it provides Lifeline benefits.
To Sign Up
To apply for WTAP, call your local telephone company with your DSHS client identification number. You will need to fill out an application and certify that you are eligible, and that you are not already receiving assistance with another line or a wireless account.
If you need help signing up for the WTAP program contact the commission:
Toll Free – 1-888-333-WUTC (9882) or fill out an Online Complaint Form.
Need help? Call the commission!
Commission staff are always ready to answer questions about regulated companies. We can help you with problems regarding their service, rates and billing practices. Please try to resolve your complaint directly with the company first. If you feel you have given them adequate time to correct the problem, and you are still not satisfied, call the commission for help at 1-888-333-WUTC (9882) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.