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Telephone Assistance Programs

Lifeline Telephone Assistance Program

The Lifeline program provides financial assistance to qualified low-income residents; ensuring them affordable telephone service. A qualified Lifeline customer must choose between a traditional wireline provider or a qualified wireless provider but not both. This Federal benefit program provides discounts on ONE telephone service (wireline or wireless) for qualified low-income consumers. Federal rules prohibit qualifying consumers from receiving more than one Lifeline discount per household. Consumers violating this one per household rule may be subject to criminal and/or civil penalties.


Lifeline service is a non-transferable benefit available to eligible low-income consumers in every state, and on Tribal lands. You must be eligible to enroll, and you must reconfirm your eligibility with the service provider annually. Eligible consumers can receive up to $9.25 per month in Lifeline discounts.

Consumers may qualify by either having an income that is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines (proof of income is required) or participate in one of the following assistance programs (proof of participation is required):

  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps or SNAP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
  • Veteran’s Pension and Survivor Benefit

Lifeline customers of traditional wireline companies receive the following benefits:

  • Do not pay service connection charges
  • Do not pay a deposit to establish service
  • Do not pay the access recovery charge
  • Receive a monthly basic service charge discount of $9.25
  • Do not pay charges related to the Universal Service Fund and Local number portability
  • Can receive free “toll blocking” and blocking for 900/976 telephone numbers to prohibit all outgoing long-distance calls
  • Special payment arrangements (or can re-establish service if previously disconnected) by paying $25 and the remaining balance over six months.

More information about eligibility, how to apply for Lifeline benefits, or what to do if your household is receiving more than one discount, is available at the Universal Service Administrative Company’s website http://www.usac.org/li/ or you may also call the Federal Communications Commission at 1-888-225-5322 FREE.

To apply for telephone assistance, complete the Certification for Lifeline Telephone Service form and bring it to the Ottoville Mutual Telephone Company office along with the required proof of participation documents and photo identification.

Download the Lifeline Telephone Application to get started.

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