Government Grants to Help Pay a Telephone Bill


The Lifeline program can save you at least $10 a month on your phone bill, whether it is a home phone or a cell phone. Your state and telephone company may offer additional discounts to make phone service more affordable. Residents of Native American Indian and Alaska Native tribal communities may qualify for enhanced Lifeline assistance, up to an additional $25 a month in discounts.


Link-Up helps with phone connection costs. The program will cover half the initial installation fee for a home telephone or the activation fee for wireless phone, up to $30. If a deposit is necessary for wireless, you are able to borrow up to $200 interest-free for up to a year. When a deposit is required for home phone service, you can avoid the deposit by agreeing to allow the company to restrict long distance calls.


Safelink is the wireless portion of the Lifeline program. Safelink provides eligible recipients free airtime minutes, and TracFone provides the wireless handset. SafeLink converts the total amount of discounted service through Lifeline into minutes each month for an entire year. Monthly minutes carryover into the next month.

Applying for Help

Each state is responsible for administering its own Lifeline Across America program. Eligibility criteria for the program can vary among states, counties and commonwealths. Government guidelines restrict household income to 135 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). If you are currently receiving Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), you will likely qualify. To apply for Lifeline, contact your state’s public utility commission.

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