Lifeline National Verification
To unify the federal and state guidelines, the Universal Service Administrative Co. (USAC) is working to bring all states under the National Verification process. By doing so, the eligibility requirements become centrally managed. As such, consumers will have the ability to apply for Lifeline and/or Affordable Connectivity benefits on their own directly through the National Verifier consumer portal (there’s also a snail mail option for submitting applications).
The rollout began in 2019. As of this date (January 2023) all states and territories except for California, Oregon, and Texas are part of the national verification process.
If you live in one of the three states not participating in the National Verification database, you must visit the Lifeline Enrollment page for each state as follows:
How Does the National Verification Process Affect New Applicants?
What does this mean for the folks looking to sign up for free government phones through the Lifeline program and/or Affordable Connectivity Programs? Well, this means individuals must now visit the National Verifier program’s page first before signing up with an approved Lifeline or Affordable Connectivity service provider.
Go to the National Verifier portal, select your state and then complete the required information. Through the portal, you should get an immediate notification (within 20 to 30 minutes) as to whether or not you are approved for the Lifeline program. In some cases, however, approval isn’t immediate and requires additional documentation to determine whether or not you qualify. If that is the case, you’ll have to upload the necessary documents.
For those who do not wish to apply online, there’s the option of printing, completing, and mailing the application form using snail mail. Currently, the application is available in English and Spanish. Once you’ve completed the application mail it along with copies (not originals) of the necessary documentation to:
USAC Lifeline Support Center
Someone from the Lifeline Support Center will contact you either by snail mail or email regarding your eligibility. Once you are approved, the next step is to select a phone company to begin your Lifeline/ACP benefits.
Alternatively, if your current phone service is with a company that participates in the Lifeline or ACP programs, you can request assistance from them in completing your application.
Lifeline And ACP Annual Recertification
All Lifeline and ACP participants must recertify annually to ensure continued eligibility. The National Verification recertification process starts approximately 60 days before your Lifeline benefit anniversary date. Within that time you must verify that you still meet the necessary criteria to retain your Lifeline benefits.
Note: Recertification reminders may come in the form of robocalls. If you’re in the habit of not answering calls from unknown numbers, you’ll want to make an exception to that habit during the recertification period.
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Last Modified: 14 January 2023
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