The things you need to do does not stop once you get your phone. You must keep using the phone to stay in the Lifeline program. Not using your phone for at least once every sixty (60) days will result in the phone company sending a notice for you to start using the phone. The notice usually gives you thirty (30) days to comply. If you were not able to, the discount will end. You must remember that the purpose of the program is to give phones and discounts to those who need to use them.

What if you want a different plan or change the phone company? If you ever decide that you would rather have a different plan, you can change the company giving you the Lifeline discount. You may transfer no more than once every 60 days. Your next step is to contact the new company and request for a transfer.

As with any transaction, the company where you want to transfer to will need information from you. This includes your name, address, phone number, date of birth, and the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. In addition, you will have to provide verbal or written consent that you understand you will be losing your benefits with the previous company. This consent will also include that the company has informed you that your household may not have more than one benefit.

Our circumstances usually change, so every year, you will need to recertify your eligibility for the program. You will need a notice for this, and it will include instructions and provide a deadline for recertifying. This will usually include proving that you still are on a government assistance program, or have a low income. Failing to recertify will make you lose your benefits.

Notifying the phone company that you no longer qualify for the program is very important. This includes an increase of your income (above the limit) or not receiving support from a government assistance program anymore. Both of these no longer makes you qualified for the program. Let your phone company know within 30 days so they can make the proper adjustments, including ending the discount.

If in case someone else in your household receives benefits from the Lifeline Program or Obama Phone, one of you will have to terminate the assistance. Only one discount may be received per household.

Things you need to know:

Note that if you receive a phone as part of the program, it will not be the latest model out in the market. In most cases, it will be an older model, or a refurbished one.

If you lose your Lifeline benefit for any reason and you still want one, you need to apply for it again. This means going through the initial application process again.

Have an issue with the service? You must first contact your phone company. If the problem still cannot be resolved after trying every possible solution, talk to your state’s public utility commission. If that does not work, contact USAC at

See a household fraudulently getting Lifeline? FCC’s Lifeline Fraud Tip Line can help you. Call them at (855) 455-8477 or send them an email at

Found out any fraud, waste, or abuse by a telephone company in the program? Go to USAC’s website and submit a Whistleblower Ale