POST UPDATED: Sept 2013
- Illinois Commerce Commission
- 527 East Capitol Avenue, Springfield, Illinois 62701
Lifeline and Link-Up Telephone Assistance Programs
Low-income consumers may qualify for assistance to help pay for installation of telephone service and monthly charges for local phone service through the Lifeline and Link-Up Telephone assistance programs.
To be eligible for Lifeline or Link-Up, individuals or families must receive benefits under one of the following programs:
- Food stamps, SNAP
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- National school lunch, free lunch program
- Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
Consumers may also qualify for lifeline service if their household income is at or below 135% of federal Poverty Guidelines.
The Federal Telephone Assistance Program
Lifeline Assistance provides discounts on basic monthly service for qualified telephone customers. These discounts can be up to $10 per month. A deposit may be required unless the consumer voluntarily chooses toll blocking that will prevent outgoing long distance calls.
The State Telephone Assistance Program
Link-Up provides additional benefits of up to $15 on installation charges for telephone service to eligible Illinois program participants. Currently the State program does not provide monthly benefits.
How To Apply
Customers wishing to apply for assistance should contact a participating eligible telephone company. As individual company plans may vary, customers should carefully review available offerings. The ICC has evaluated these plans for compliance with federal and state regulations, but does not endorse any available plan over any other. The following link includes contact information for all eligible telephone companies in Illinois that provide Lifeline and Link-Up assistance.
Other Sources of Information
The Universal Telephone Assistance Corporation (UTAC) also provides information about financial assistance at LinkUpIllinois.org. UTAC is a not-for-profit corporation of which all Illinois local telephone companies are members. The principal purpose of UTAC is to oversee the Universal Telephone Service Assistance Program (UTSAP) in Illinois, which provides the Link-Up and Lifeline programs.
The Universal Service Administrative Company also provides information about Lifeline and Link-Up at LifelineSupport.org. USAC is an independent, not-for-profit corporation designated as the administrator of the federal Universal Service Fund (USF) by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). USAC administers USF programs for high cost companies serving rural areas, low-income consumers, rural health care providers, and schools and libraries. The Universal Service Fund helps provide communities across the country with affordable telecommunications services.