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Telephone Service Discount Programs

Telephone Assistance Program (TAP) Application
Lifeline Awareness Proclamation 2013
Newsletter/Announcement Text for Print and Web
TAP Brochure
Press Release

The federal Lifeline and state Telephone Assistance Plan (TAP) programs provide monthly telephone service discounts on one telephone line or wireless telephone per household.

Recently the Link-up program, a discount on activation charges, was eliminated except for Tribal lands. Qualifying residents of Tribal lands may receive additional discounts.

There are several landline and wireless service providers authorized to provide these telephone service discounts to income qualifying households to promote universal service.

Am I eligible?

Telephone service must be in your name and you must show proof you participate in one or more of the qualifying programs:

Public assistance programs eligible for telephone discount participation
  • Medicaid/Medical Assistance
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/ Food Stamps )
  • Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)/ Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Housing Assistance or Section 8 Assistance
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • National School Lunch Program's free lunch program
Additional qualifying programs for persons living on a reservation
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Tribally administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Head Start (only those meeting its income qualifying standard)
  • National School Lunch Program's free lunch program

-OR-

you can prove your income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Income Guidelines by attaching one of the following documents to your application:

  • Last year's State, Federal or Tribal Tax Return
  • Social Security Benefits Statement
  • Current annual income statement from employer
  • Retirement/Pension Benefits Statement
  • Three consecutive months of most recent paycheck stubs
  • Divorce Decree
  • Veterans Administration Benefits Statement
  • Child Support Document
  • Unemployment/Workmen's Compensation Statement
Federal Poverty Guidelines
Household Size 135%
1 $15,755
2 $21,236
3 $26,717
4 $32,198
5 $37,679
$43,160 
7 $48,641
More...

What do the programs provide?

Landline Providers offer discounts from both the federal Lifeline and Minnesota's Telephone Assistance Program. The credit applies to one main home telephone number listed in the applicant's name. Lifeline subscribers also may receive free long distance blocking on their landline telephone. Additional benefits are available to person living on Tribal Lands/reservations.
Who provides local service in my area?

Wireless Providers offer special Lifeline discount plans to qualifying customers. Some plan options offer free phones. Not all wireless companies offer Lifeline benefits. The approved companies and their contact information are listed below.

Special Note: When wireless companies begin to offer Lifeline discounts, we will add them to this list

Wireless Providers Customer Service
Access Wireless  1-800-464-6010 
Assurance Wireless 1-888-321-5880 
Budget Mobile  1-888-777-4007 
EnTouch Wireless 1-866-488-8719  
Life Wireless 1-888-543-3620
QLinkWireless 1-855-754-6543
ReachOut Wireless 1-877-870-9222
StandUp Wireless 1-800-544-4441
T-Mobile Lifeline 1-800-937-8997
TerraCom Wireless   1-877-351-4040

How do I apply?

1.  Contact your landline or wireless provider to request an application. Complete and sign the application.

2.  Attach proof of participation in one of the qualifying programs or proof of income to your application.

3.  Mail the application and required documents to your landline or wireless company.

Could I become ineligible?

When you no longer participate in any of the qualifying public assistance programs listed above, or you no longer meet the income guidelines, you are obligated by law to notify the telephone company that you are no longer eligible for Lifeline or TAP.

Questions?

If you have questions about these discount programs or the application process, contact your local telephone company.

Don't have telephone service yet? Find a local service provider for your city.

More information about the federal Lifeline program can be found at Federal Communications Commission.