Lifeline Information

What is the Lifeline Program?

The Lifeline Program is a government benefit program under which eligible low-income customers may qualify for a discount for residential local telephone service or stand alone data services (Internet) at their primary residence. Lifeline Program customers may also qualify for free toll blocking to help control long-distance usage. Customers using this offering can still use pre-paid calling cards or dial-around services to place long-distance calls from their homes.

Under the Native American Lifeline Program, eligible residents of American Indian Tribal lands may qualify for additional monthly support of up to $25. Such eligible residents may also qualify for Link Up Program support to install residential telephone service.

Only one Lifeline Program discount is available per household, a household being defined as any individual or group of individuals who live together at the same address and share income and expenses. The Lifeline Program benefit is non-transferable. Consumers who willfully make false statements in order to obtain the discount can be punished by fine or imprisonment or can be barred from the Lifeline Program.

Am I Eligible?

You may qualify for the Lifeline Program if you (or your dependent or a member of your household) receive benefits from one the following programs:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
  • Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs Assistance Program*
  • Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations*
  • Tribally Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)*
  • Head Start (if qualifying income standards met)*
  • Food Distribution Program*

*Additional qualifying program for the Native American Lifeline Program

In addition, customers with a household Income at or below 135% of Federal Poverty Level may also qualify for the Lifeline Program.

2017 Poverty Guidelines for the 48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia

Persons in Family/Household 135% of Federal Poverty Guidelines
1 $ 16,281
2 $ 21,924
3 $ 27,567
4 $ 33,210
5 $ 38,853
6 $ 44,496
7 $ 50,139
8 $ 55,782
For each additional person, add $   5,643

Port Freeze Limitation

Subject to the exceptions listed below, Lifeline subscribers are subject to a 12-month port freeze.  This means that Lifeline subscribers will not be eligible for Lifeline benefits for 12 months following any change in service provider unless one of the following exceptions is met:

  • The subscriber moves their residential address;
  • The provider ceases operations or otherwise fails to provide service;
  • The provider has imposed late fees for non-payment related to the supported service(s) greater than or equal to the monthly end-user charge for service;
  • The provider is found to be in violation of FCC’s rules during the benefit year and the subscriber is impacted by such violation.

Elimination of Temporary Address Requirement

OTELCO may still enroll eligible subscribers using a temporary address, but those subscribers will no longer be required to certify to the temporary address every 90 days.

How Do I Apply?

To receive the Lifeline Program discount, residential customers must establish the eligibility of the household by completing an application and submitting it, with required supporting documentation, to OTELCO at 56 Campus Drive in New Gloucester, ME 04260, or by fax to 207-688-8820.

Lifeline Income Guidelines

Lifeline Application for Maine, Massachusetts, and West Virginia

Vermont Lifeline Application