Low-income residents living in Alaska can take advantage of the Lifeline/Link-Up government assisted phone programs. These programs allow qualified individuals to receive discounted phone service.
To qualify for the program candidates must participate in one of the following government assistance programs:
- Food Stamp Program
- Supplemental Security Income
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP )
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance Program
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Head Start Program
- National School Lunch Program (Free Lunches)
- Alaska Temporary Assistance Program (ATAP )
- Alaska Adult Public Assistance Program or
- Household income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
Alaska Discounted Phone Service
The monthly discounted phone rate varies depending on the telephone service provider. To find out how much of a discount each telephone service provider offers, visit the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) website. The USAC in conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) administers the Lifeline program.
Once at the USAC website click on the state of Alaska. The site will display a listing of phone companies servicing the Alaska area. Look through the listings to find out how much of a discount each phone company offers.
As mentioned earlier, the discounts vary. For example, according to the USAC site, Alaska Telephone Company provides service for a monthly fee of $1 under the Lifeline Program while United Utilities, Inc. offers a $29 discount off of the basic monthly phone service. Don’t worry if your phone company isn’t listed on the USAC website. Although the listing is extensive, it may not be a complete listing of all phone companies servicing the Alaska area. If your company isn’t listed, call them directly to ask how much of a Lifeline discount they offer.
In addition to the monthly phone service discounts, the Link-Up program will pay a portion of the installation charges for new phone service. Link-Up pays up to 50% of the installation charges up to a maximum of $30. Residents living in Alaska Native tribal communities may qualify for expanded Link-Up which covers an additional $70 of installation fees.
How to Apply for Lifeline Phone Service
Contact your telephone service provider and request a Lifeline application. Complete and return it as soon as possible because processing takes several weeks. While your application is being processed, please continue to make timely payments on your existing phone service.
Things to Check in the Future
There are wireless phone service providers (Assurance, SafeLink and ReachOut Wireless) offering free government cell phones to qualified individuals. Currently, they are not authorized to offer service in the state of Alaska. These companies are constantly expanding their phone service area, so check periodically to see if they have expanded their service to Alaska.
For further information on additional wireless companies that might offer free service in Alaska, visit the Regulatory Commission of Alaska . They will have up-to-date information on approved Lifeline phone service providers.