Low-income Oklahoma residents who qualify can utilize the services as offered through the Lifeline/Link Up programs. Although Oklahoma doesn’t currently participate in the free cell phone program, it does offer qualified residents an enhanced Lifeline/Link Up program.
Before we discuss the enhanced programs, let’s talk about what qualified Oklahoma residents get:
Discounted Installation Costs
Through the Link Up portion of the program, residents can save 50% of the phone installation cost or the initial set up costs charged by the phone companies. The maximum savings range between $30 and $100 (the difference depends on whether or not you’re in the enhanced program).
Discounted Monthly Phone Bills
The amount of the monthly discount depends on the telephone service carrier. The discount can cut as much as $10 per month from your phone bill or require you to pay as little as $1 per month (enhanced) for phone service. The monthly savings varies by telephone service provider.
To find out how much of a discount your telephone service provider gives, visit the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) at LifelineSupport.org. Once there, click on the state of Oklahoma to see a listing of phone service providers. Just by selecting a few of the phone service providers you’ll notice the difference in monthly phone plan charges. According to USAC, AT&T will charge anywhere from $1-$15 for basic phone service while Central Oklahoma Telephone Co., charges $1.
Southwest Oklahoma Telephone Co offers a $10 savings off of the basic monthly phone bill and Pioneer Cellular gives a $14.40 monthly savings. As mentioned earlier, the savings/monthly charges vary by carrier.
Back to the Enhanced Lifeline Program
There are several Oklahoma counties that are only eligible for the basic Lifeline/Link Up services. They may not qualify for the enhanced program. The counties not eligible for the enhanced Lifeline/Link Up service and they are as follows:
- Beckham (south of the North Fork of Red River)
Lifeline/Link Up Qualification Requirements
These programs were created to service low-income individuals/families. As such, to qualify you must participate in at least one of the following government assistance programs:
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF)
- Head Start Programs (under income qualifying eligibility provision only)
- The National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Program
- Medical Assistance and/or Medicaid
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP f/k/a Food Stamps) or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8 )
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
- Participate in or receive assistance or benefits, as certified by the state Department of Rehabilitation Services, under a program providing vocational rehabilitation, including aid to the hearing impaired: or,
- Participate in or receive assistance or benefits, as certified by the Oklahoma Tax Commission, pursuant to the Sales Tax Relief Act, 68 O.S., 5011 et seq.
(The above list was taken directly from the Oklahoma Corporation Commission Public Utility Division website)
How to Apply for Oklahoma LifeLine/Link Up
To apply, contact your telephone service provider and request an application. Some of the applications are available online by going to the USAC website and selecting your phone service provider. Unfortunately, the USAC website does not have a complete listing of all designated carriers in Oklahoma.Contact Oklahoma Commerce Commission for a complete listing.
Once you complete your application, it may take several weeks for the discounts to be processed. Please continue to make payments on your current phone bill until your application is processed and approved.