White landline telephone and person holding receiver while pressing keypad

Lifeline Telephone Service

Save Money on Your Phone Bill

New York State Lifeline Discounted Telephone Service is an assistance program offered by many telephone providers, including some wireless and cable companies, to help income eligible consumers save money on their phone bills.

What is Lifeline?

Lifeline helps you stay connected and save money on your monthly telephone bill. The Lifeline discount can be applied to either home telephone service (landline or cable) or wireless service. The discount is available for only one line per household.

What are the Benefits?

Qualifying consumers can apply for Lifeline to receive a monthly discount on either their landline telephone service or their wireless service. Lifeline benefits include:

  • A bill credit and a waiver of the federal subscriber line charge for landline customers.
  • Mobile data usage and/or voice usage allowances and reduced rates for wireless customers.
  • Additional discounts may also apply.

Total savings and benefits will vary depending on your telephone service provider.

Key Provisions of the Program

  • Lifeline is only available to income eligible customers. See below for eligibility guidelines.
  • Eligible customers may only receive one Lifeline discount service at a time; the discount can be applied to either home telephone service or wireless service, but not both. In addition, only one Lifeline discount is available per household. “Household” is defined as any individual or group of individuals who live together at the same address.
  • Lifeline subscribers must recertify annually that they are eligible to participate in the program and that they and their household only receive one Lifeline discount. Lifeline enrollees are obligated to respond to recertification requests: customers who fail to recertify will be de-enrolled from the program.

What is Tribal Lands Lifeline and Link-up?

Tribal Lands programs provide additional benefits for eligible low-income consumers living on tribal lands. As part of the Tribal Lands Lifeline program, consumers receive additional discounts on their monthly bills. Under the Link Up program, some carriers offer a one-time discount of up to $100 on the initial installation or activation of a wireline or wireless telephone for the primary residence. Tribal Lands Link Up also enables subscribers to pay the remaining amount that they owe on a deferred schedule, interest-free.

Lifeline Eligibility Guidelines

In New York State, consumers can qualify for the Lifeline program based on the following eligibility criteria:

  • Income Based: Your income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
  • Government Assistance Programs: You participate in one of the programs listed in the chart below.

2022 Poverty Guidelines

Household Size
Household Income

Add $6,372 for each additional person. (Source Universal Service Administrative Co. August 10,2022)

Visit www.lifelinesupport.org or call 1-800-234-9473 for the latest income guidelines.


Government Assistance Programs

Federal Programs State Programs
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly Food Stamps Family Assistance/Safety Net Assistance
Medicaid National School Lunch Program
Federal Public Housing Assistance  
Veteran’s Pension and Survivors Benefit  
Tribal Programs including:
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • Tribal Lands Head Start (if income eligibility criteria are met)
  • Any of the federal assistance programs listed above


How to Apply

The method to apply for Lifeline is based on the different eligibility criteria:

Income Level or Participation in a Federal Assistance Program

  • Apply through the administrator of the federal Lifeline program - the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). Visit the USAC website at www.usac.org to verify eligibility and apply for the program.

Participation in a State Assistance Program

  • Contact your telephone carrier and ask about their Lifeline Program. To find a Lifeline provider in New York State use your zip code in the Companies Near Me tool, provided by Universal Service Administrative Company.