During Lifeline Awareness Week, MPSC urges low-income Michiganders to apply for discounted phone service

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   September 10, 2018 
Contact:          Nick Assendelft 517-284-8300
Customer Assistance: 800-292-9555
www.michigan.gov/mpsc

LANSING, Mich. – Telecommunications provide a vital link for low-income Michiganders to access emergency help, jobs, family, and healthcare, so the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) is marking Lifeline Awareness Week by urging participation in the discounted voice and broadband service.

Lifeline is offered by dozens of carriers throughout Michigan and helps make telephone or broadband service more affordable for qualified customers. This week is National Telephone Discount Lifeline Awareness Week, designed to raise awareness of and increase participation in the federal-state program.

“To access jobs, schooling, health services, and other support, Michigan’s vulnerable populations need reliable ways to communicate by phone or online,” said MPSC Chairman Sally Talberg. “The Lifeline program gives low-income Michiganders the ability to connect to valuable services in an affordable way.”

Under the Lifeline program, those under age 65 get a minimum discount of $9.25 per month on telephone service, while those 65 or older get a minimum discount of $12.35 per month. Check with your local service provider for exact amounts.  

To qualify, a Michigan customer must have an income that is at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty level or participate in one of these programs:

  • Medicaid.
  • Food Assistance.
  • Supplemental Security Income.
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.
  • State Emergency Relief (SER) and Home Heating Credit (HHC) components of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8).
  • The National School Lunch Program.

Veterans may qualify for Lifeline if they receive any of the benefits listed above or through the Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefits Program.

According to the Universal Service Administrative Co., there were 411,097 Lifeline subscribers in Michigan last year, just 33 percent of the estimated 1,242,219 households that are eligible.

For more information about Lifeline, see this tip sheet or contact the MPSC at 800-292-9555. Check this list of participating companies to see if your local landline telephone company, wireless provider, or broadband provider participates in the Lifeline program. 

For information about the MPSC, visit www.michigan.gov/mpsc, sign up for one of its listservs, or follow the Commission on Twitter.

# # #