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California Lifeline Program: Everything You Need To Know

Written by: Dane Groves
Last updated: February 29, 2024

California Lifeline Program is a state-level initiative that aims to make basic telephone and broadband services more accessible to eligible households. This initiative is crucial in today's digital world, where connectivity plays a pivotal role in daily activities and access to opportunities.

This article will provide a comprehensive understanding of the program, including eligibility, benefits, and the application process. Find out more about the California Lifeline Program. Learn about recent changes and how to apply. Stay connected with affordable phone and broadband services.

Understanding The California Lifeline Program

The California Lifeline Program is a government assistance program that offers discounted home phone and cell phone services to eligible households. The program aims to ensure that all Californians have access to vital communication services.

Who Is Eligible For The Program?

Eligibility for the California Lifeline Program is based on income or program participation. Households must meet income guidelines or participate in certain public assistance programs, such as Medicaid/Medi-Cal, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or others.

Benefits Of The California Lifeline Program

Participating in the California Lifeline Program can lead to significant savings on monthly phone and internet bills. The program offers discounts that can help lower the cost of monthly phone bills, and in some cases, provide discounted broadband services.

How To Apply For The California Lifeline Program

Applying for the California Lifeline Program is a straightforward process. Eligible households can apply through their phone or broadband service provider, or directly through the California Lifeline Administration.

Recent Changes To The California Lifeline Program

On December 31st, 2021, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) replaced the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB). Existing EBB customers were given 60 days to transition to ACP. The federal ACP provides a discount of up to $30 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands.

The CPUC, in Decision 1401036, modernized and expanded the California LifeLine Program to include savings on cell phone services. The California LifeLine Program provides discounts on home phone and cell phone services to qualified households. The California LifeLine discounts help consumers lower the cost of their phone bills. Only one discount per household is allowed (except for teletypewriter users and for Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program participants).

How To Apply For The California Lifeline Program

The California LifeLine Program lowers the cost of your monthly bill for your cell or landline phone. The discount is for households that either receive public assistance or have an income below a certain amount. A household is a group of people who live together and share income and expenses, even if they are not related to each other.

To apply for the California Lifeline Program, you need to choose a phone company that offers discounts, and then ask the phone company you chose to start your application for the California LifeLine program. They should tell you if you can get a discount and start the application process for you. Then, in three weeks, you should get a pink letter in the mail with your application form.

You can then apply online or by mail. Simply fill out and mail back the form inside your pink letter. After you have applied, you will receive a letter in the mail letting you know if you're approved. If so, you'll start getting a monthly discount from your phone company automatically. One year from your start date, you will receive another pink letter in the mail asking you to renew your discount. Then, you can use your letter to renew by mail or online.

Qualifying For Assurance Wireless Unlimited

A household is eligible if one member of the household qualifies for the Lifeline program based on certain public assistance programs such as Medicaid or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or based on your household income. Other qualifications include receiving benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, or did so in the 2019-2020, 2020-2021 or 2021-2022 school years; Pell grant; or receives benefits under The Special Supplemental Women, Infant, and Children's Program (WIC).

Frequently Asked Questions

You can gain a better understanding of California Lifeline program by exploring our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

What is the Affordable Connectivity Plan (ACP)?

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a federal program enacted to reduce broadband service bills for eligible consumers and help these households stay connected to jobs, critical healthcare services, and virtual classrooms.

What is included with Assurance Wireless Unlimited, part of the new federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)?

Each month, Assurance Wireless Unlimited includes FREE Unlimited Data, FREE Unlimited Texts, FREE Unlimited Minutes, and FREE 10GB Mobile Hotspot Data. New Assurance Wireless customers also receive a FREE Smartphone.

If I am a current Assurance Wireless Lifeline customer, how do I get the Assurance Wireless Unlimited plan?

Assurance Wireless customers can visit the website or call 1-888-321-5880 to sign up for Assurance Wireless Unlimited.

What do current EBB customers need to do?

You will continue to receive the EBB benefit with the Assurance Wireless Unlimited Plan for a transition period ending March 1, 2022. You do not need to do anything to receive this transitional benefit.

Take Advantage Of The California Lifeline Program

The California Lifeline Program plays a vital role in ensuring that all Californians have access to essential communication services. By understanding the eligibility criteria, benefits, and application process, eligible households can benefit from discounted phone and broadband services, thereby enhancing their connectivity and access to opportunities.

Find out more about programs that help low-income household remain connected by visiting Gov Relations. Learn about the ACP Program by exploring more of our resources.

Dane Groves
Dane Groves is the senior writer of Gov Relations. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from National University. During Dane’s whole five years with the company, he has helped train and guide new writers. Dane works closely with Dulcie to ensure that new writers are able to produce content that is of high quality and engaging, relevant, and informative to readers.
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