Public Service Commission Celebrates September 11th-17th as Lifeline Awareness Week in Georgia
Monday, September 11th, 2017
The Georgia Public Service Commission wants to remind all Georgians that September 11-17, 2017 is National Lifeline Awareness Week in Georgia. Access to local emergency services and community resources is vital to our low-income and elderly residents. The Commission wants residents to “stay connected” and is reaching out to those who need telecommunications service but can’t afford it. During Lifeline Awareness Week, the Commission will promote the Lifeline assistance program which offers discounts to help residents have access to voice or broadband services. Lifeline helps low income consumers connect to the nation’s communications networks, find jobs, access health care services, connect with family, and call for help in an emergency.
Under the federal Lifeline program, customers who participate in or are eligible for certain public assistance and veteran programs are entitled to receive a discount of $9.25 per month off their monthly telecommunications bills. More information on program eligibility, rules and key messages is available at https://www.fcc.gov/general/lifeline-program-low-income-consumers.
“We want to make eligible Georgians aware of this program which can provide this crucial link to services and family in times of need,” said Commission Chairman Stan Wise. Lifeline Awareness Week is a nationwide campaign to publicize the Lifeline Program by the Commission, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and the Federal Communications Commission.
As of June 30, 2017, there are approximately 375,000 Georgians who are receiving this credit, but there are thousands more who could qualify but are not enrolled. A consumer is automatically qualified to receive the Lifeline discount if he or she currently participates in any one of the following programs: Medicaid; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; Supplemental Security Income; Federal Public Housing Assistance; Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit; or income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
The Lifeline program has undergone a transformation in recent years to improve program efficiency and combat waste, fraud and abuse to ensure that only those eligible are receiving this vital support. Program rules and requirements that consumers should know include:
· Lifeline is available only to eligible consumers.
· Only low-income consumers with proof of eligibility are qualified to enroll.
· Only one Lifeline benefit is permitted per household. If a consumer or his or her household currently has more than one Lifeline-discounted service, he or she must select a single provider immediately or be subject to penalties.
· Existing Lifeline subscribers must recertify their eligibility every year and should respond to their Lifeline providers’ attempts to recertify eligibility. Subscribers who fail to recertify their eligibility will be de-enrolled from the Lifeline Program.
To enroll, consumers should contact their prospective telecommunications provider. Consumers should be aware than not all providers offer the Lifeline discount and should contact any potential provider before making a commitment.