Discounts for Local Telephone Service and Installation Available to Low Income and Disabled Customers
Lifeline (monthly local service phone bills) and Link-Up (initial installation of phone service) are programs that help ensure that quality telecommunications services are available to low-income consumers at just, reasonable, and affordable rates. The money to support these programs comes from the Federal Universal Service Fund, a special purpose fund created with assessments on telecommunications companies that they usually pass through directly to their retail customers. Over the years, Lifeline/Link-Up has supported telephone service for millions of low-income consumers ensuring access to this vital public utility keeping them connected. All customers benefit from the ability to communicate with a greater number of customers under this program that advances universal telephone service for all households.
Missouri has a state Universal Service Fund (MoUSF) that provides additional discounts for basic local telephone service for low-income or disabled Missouri residents. Missouri has a discount for disabled customers that is not available under the federal USF programs. Missouri disabled customers only receive support from the MoUSF while low-income customers receive both state and federal funds.
- How can I sign up or get more information to see if I qualify?
- For both low-income and disabled customer Lifeline discounts and Link-Up programs, contact your local telephone company for an application, specific eligibility requirements and for more information.
- What are the benefits for low-income customers?
- The exact dollar amount of the federal discount is based on the regular price of basic local telecommunications service from the company that serves that customer. Generally, the Link-Up discount is 50% of the normal installation charge, with a $30 maximum payment. The MoUSF is $3.50 per month which increases the federal universal support by an additional $1.75 per month. As a result of the USF and MoUSF, qualified low income customers can receive a discount of up to $13.50/month on their phone bill for basic local service and up to a $30 reduction in the installation charge.
- What are the benefits for disabled customers?
- The MoUSF offers benefits to disabled Missouri customers, but the federal lifeline program does not.. Missouri has a discount on local telephone service of up to $3.50 per month. The exact amount of the discount is based on the regular price of basic local service from the company that serves that customer. The customer is eligible to receive the disability discount if the customer or a dependent living in the same household has a disability and receives disability benefits.