You just found out that you qualify for the Lifeline Program, what now? It's time to get your phone! But wait, there are steps to follow for you to get the phone service.

Step 1: Choose the phone company

For each state, the Lifeline Program has a list of companies that participate. Make sure to look at several companies and the plans they offer before you decide. Different companies have various plans you can check, to see which one best suit your needs.

All of the companies will provide the capability to send and receive text messages. The phone, free number of minutes, and free number of texts will also depend on the company plan, and which state you live in. Your phone should come with voice mail, caller ID, and call waiting. Most of the time, at least 250 minutes per month will be included in the service.

Step 2: Filling out the application

After thinking everything over and over again, you have finally chosen the company and plan you want. Now what? Directly contact the company and ask for an application. Like most forms, you will need to provide the following information:

  • your name
  • address
  • date of birth
  • last 4 digits of either your Social Security number or Tribal Identification number

Step 3: Proving that you are eligible for the program

Show proof that you are qualified for the Lifeline program. This means showing and giving copies of paperwork that say so. If you are qualified based on being in an assistance program, you will need to give a copy of your benefit card or statement. If you are qualified based on income, the following documentation will help:

  • Prior year’s state, federal, or Tribal tax return;
  • Current income statement from an employer;
  • divorce decree;
  • child support award;
  • Social Security statement of benefits;
  • Federal or Tribal notice letter of participation in General Assistance;
  • Unemployment or Workers’ Compensation statement of benefits;
  • Veterans Administration statement of benefits;
  • Retirement or pension statement of benefits; or
  • Other official document containing income information.

Step 4: Give proof of your identity

Most of the time, giving the phone company your eligibility information will be enough to prove your identity and get your discount. In case that is is not enough, they will contact you and ask for additional documents to verify your identity. There may be cases that if you will not be able to provide the documents, you will be denied. Here are some documents that the phone company may ask for:

  • Birth certificate
  • Passport
  • Driver's license
  • Social Security card
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Certificate of U.S. Citizenship
  • Permanent resident card
  • Permanent resident alien card
  • U.S. government, military, state, or Tribal issued ID
  • W-2
  • Prior year's state, federal, or Tribal tax return
  • Weapons permit
  • Military discharge documentation
  • Unemployment or Worker's Compensation statement of benefits
  • Statement of benefits from a qualifying program
  • Government assistance program document

Step 5: Receive your discount

Once your application is approved, the phone company will sign you up for the program. Whether you asked to have the benefits applied to an existing phone line, or they are sending you a cellphone, do not forget to ask them when you will receive the benefit.