Lifeline National Verification
To unify the federal and state guidelines, the USAC is working to bring all states under the National Verification process. By doing so, the eligibility requirements become centrally managed. As such, consumers will have the ability to apply for Lifeline on their own directly through the National Verifier consumer portal CheckLifeline.org (there’s also a snail mail option for submitting applications).
The rollout began in 2019. As of this date (October 2020) the following states and territories are subject to the National Verification process:
How Does the National Verification Process Affect New Applicants?
What does this mean for the folks looking to sign up for free government phones through the Lifeline program? Well, this means individuals must now visit the National Verifier program’s page first before signing up with an approved Lifeline phone service provider.
Go to the National Verifier portal, select your state and then complete the required information. Through the portal, you should get an immediate notification as to whether or not you qualify for the Lifeline program. In some cases, however, approval isn’t immediate and requires additional documentation to determine whether or not you qualify. If that is the case, you’ll have to upload the necessary documents.
For those who do not wish to apply online, there’s the option of printing, completing and mailing the application form using snail mail. Currently, the application is available in English and Spanish and you can download them from the Checklifeline.org site. Once you’ve completed the application mail it along with copies (not originals) of the necessary documentation to:
USAC Lifeline Support Center
PO Box 7081
London, KY 40742
Someone from the Lifeline Support Center will contact you either by mail or email regarding your eligibility. Once you are approved, you have up to 90 days to select a phone company to begin your Lifeline benefits.
Alternatively, if your current phone service is with a company that participates in the Lifeline program, you can request assistance from them in completing your application.
Lifeline Annual Recertification
All Lifeline participants must recertify annually to ensure continued eligibility. The National Verification recertification process starts approximately 90 days before your Lifeline benefit anniversary date. Within that time you must verify that you still meet the necessary criteria to retain your Lifeline benefits.
Note: Recertification reminders may come in the form of robocalls. If you’re in the habit of not answering calls from unknown numbers, you’ll want to make an exception to that habit during the recertification period.
If your state is not yet subject to the National Verification process, you can go directly to your preferred phone service provider to apply for Lifeline benefits. The annual recertification process will be handled by the phone service provider.
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Last Modified: 5 October 2022
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