Assistance Programs

Lifeline Assistance Program – Phone and Broadband

Lifeline is a federal assistance program funded by the Universal Service Fund which provides a discount towards telephone and broadband service for qualified low-income customers. The Lifeline program currently offers a credit of $5.25/month for telephone service and $9.25/month for broadband service per eligible household. Only one Lifeline discount per household is allowed nationwide. Federal eligibility is verified annually.

To qualify for Lifeline you must have a household income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or participate in one of the following assistance programs:

  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) / Section 8
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Veteran Pension & Survivor Pension Benefit
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Medicaid/Medical Assistance

To apply for discounts in MN, ND & SD – The FCC National Lifeline Verifier determines an applicant’s Lifeline eligibility. To apply for Lifeline, visit www.CheckLifeline.org, select your state in the dropdown menu, enter your personal information, and after the FCC National Eligibility Verifier approves your application, contact our business office to activate your Lifeline benefits. You will need information from your application results to ensure correct enrollment in the program.

 

MN Telephone Assistance Program (TAP) – Phone

MN residents who qualify for federal Lifeline benefits for either telephone or broadband service also automatically qualify for a $10.00/month state Telephone Assistance Program (TAP) discount on landline telephone service.

The telephone service must be in the applicant’s name and you must show proof that you, or someone in your household, either participates in one or more of the qualifying programs or meet the qualifying income guidelines. If you choose to qualify based on your income, you must attach one of the income qualifying documents to your application.

Programs eligible for telephone discount participation:

  • Medicaid/Medical Assistance
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/ Food Stamps)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Housing Assistance
  • Veterans Pension or Survivors Pension Benefit

You can also enroll in MN TAP without participating in the federal Lifeline program. Just complete the MN TAP application https://mn.gov/puc/assets/2021%20TAP%20Application_tcm14-467828.pdf and return it to our business office.  More TAP information can be found at https://mn.gov/commerce/consumers/consumer-assistance/tap/.

When you no longer participate in any of the qualifying public assistance programs or you no longer meet the income guidelines, you must notify the Lifeline and/or TAP provider that you are no longer eligible to participate in the programs.

For more details, contact the FCC at 1-888-225-5322 voice, 1-888-835-5322 TTY, visit www.lifelinesupport.org or by mail at FCC, 445 12th ST SW, Washington, DC 20554, or for MN TAP, visit https://mn.gov/puc/telecommunications/telephone-discounts.

 

ACP Broadband/Internet Assistance for Low-Income Subscribers

Emergency Broadband Benefit program / Affordable Connectivity Program

The FCC formulated the Emergency Broadband Benefit program to help those who are in need or lack broadband services. It was temporary in nature and enrollment closed on Dec. 30, 2021, with previously enrolled subscribers continuing to receive EBB credits through February 2022. The EBB program has been replaced with the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

Affordable Connectivity Program

The Affordable Connectivity Program is an FCC benefit program that helps ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare, and more.

The benefit provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands.

The ACP is limited to one monthly service discount with the amount depending on the amount the subscriber actually pays for broadband service.

Who Is Eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program?

A household is eligible if a member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:

  • Has an income that is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines; or
  • Participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, SSI, WIC, or Lifeline;
  • Participates in Tribal specific programs, such as Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal TANF, or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations;
  • Is approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision in the 2019-2020, 2020-2021, or 2021-2022 school year;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income program.

Two Steps to Enroll in ACP

  1. Go to ACPBenefit.org to submit an application or print out a mail-in application.
  2. Contact your preferred participating provider to select a plan and have the discount applied to your bill.

Eligible households must both apply for the program and contact a participating provider to select a service plan.

For more information on ACP, visit the FCC website.