Most states provide a state-funded discounted government phone program. What this means is the state, in conjunction with the federal government, contribute to helping residents afford their telephone services.
As of this writing, January 2012, the federal default states are listed below:
- American Samoa
- New Hampshire
- North Dakota
- Northern Mariana Islands
- South Dakota
What does This Mean for Federal Default State Residents?
If you live in one of the federal default states that means your eligibility criteria is strictly based on government standards. In other words, in order to qualify you must participate in one of the following government assistance programs:
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) or Section 8
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- National School Lunch Program’s free lunch program
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- or have an income at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines.
Non-default states, or states that contribute to the free/assisted government phone programs have additional qualification criteria area. For example, if participate in one of the state run assistance programs such as the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (for Arizona residents) or Connecticut Energy Assistance Program (for Connecticut residents), you qualify to receive free or discounted phone service.
For more information on the topic of federal default states, visit the Universal Service Administrative Company website.