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North Carolina Department of Justice
North Carolina Department of Justice
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Discount Phone Services: Lifeline and Link-Up Programs

The Lifeline program is designed to increase the availability of telecommunications services to low income subscribers by providing a credit for local telephone service. Lifeline can take up to $9.25 off your local monthly service bill.
Lifeline is supported by the federally-mandated Universal Service Fund. Since 2005, Lifeline discounts have been made available to qualifying consumers on pre-paid wireless service plans in addition to traditional landline service. Federal rules prohibit eligible consumers from receiving more than one Lifeline discount per household. An eligible consumer may receive a discount on either a wireline or wireless service, but not both.
To be eligible to receive the Lifeline discount, a consumer must be a current recipient of any one of the following low income assistance programs:

o    Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
o    Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
o    Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
o    Medicaid
o    Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
o    Federal Public Housing Assistance/Section 8
o    National School Lunch Program’s free lunch program

Consumers whose total gross annual income does not exceed one hundred and thirty-five percent (135%) of the Federal Poverty Guidelines are also eligible for Lifeline. 

How to apply:

  • If you are eligible, contact a telephone company that serves your area and ask them to mail you a Lifeline application form.


  • Complete the form and mail it to the telephone company. Your discount begins when the telephone company gets the approved form.

If your phone was disconnected because of unpaid long distance bills:
You may still be able to qualify for local service. You can get local service back by paying the past due balance owed for local service only.
Native American Benefits:
In addition to Lifeline Native Americans may qualify for Link-Up, which offers special discounts designed to promote telephone subscribership on tribal lands. 
We Can Help
If you have a consumer complaint, contact us for help or call toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.