Need help with your phone or internet bill? Federal telephone assistance program helps residents stay connected

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Need help with your phone or internet bill?

Federal telephone assistance program helps residents stay connected

OLYMPIA, Wash. – This week marks a national effort to remind consumers of a federal telecommunications discount program that can help residents stay connected to important services.

Lifeline Awareness Week is Sept. 14 through Sept. 18 and promotes the federal Lifeline program and the vital telecommunications services it supports. Lifeline offers eligible participants a $9.25 discount on landline telephone and wireless services, in addition to discounts for broadband and broadband-voice bundles.

The program is available year-round in every U.S. state, territory, and commonwealth as well as tribal lands. Benefits are limited to one discount per address.

Customers who are eligible for certain public assistance programs, such as Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, are eligible for Lifeline discounts.

Telephone and broadband assistance programs are especially vital to low-income and elderly residents, helping them stay connected to local emergency services and community resources.

The week of outreach is sponsored by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, the Federal Communications Commission, and the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates.

Lifeline customers that live on federally recognized tribal lands can receive discounts up to an additional $25 per month and up to $100 for first-time connection charges at their primary residence through the enhanced Lifeline support and Link Up programs.

To apply for Lifeline benefits, contact your local telephone company or a participating Lifeline provider. Applicants will be required to provide proof of eligibility.

The commission is the state agency charged with regulating the rates and services of telephone companies operating in Washington as well as promoting a competitive telecommunications marketplace. It is the commission’s responsibility to ensure regulated companies provide safe and reliable service to customers at reasonable rates, while allowing them the opportunity to earn a fair profit. The commission does not regulate the rates of broadband services, cellular, cable, or Internet service.