Thursday, July 9, 2009

Getting Help for Telephone Service

With the rise of cell phones and pay-for-minutes plans, in which you don't need a land line telephone contract to have service, the need for programs to give low-income people help paying for their phone service is not acute. But it's out there, in all 50 states.

The Universal Service Administrative Company, a not for profit agency, was set up by the federal government to help the poor with their phone accounts, among other things. The low income program is divided into two parts: Link Up, which helps with the initial start-up costs, and Lifeline, which helps with ongoing phone bills. Note that these only help with expenses for bare-bones, local telephone accounts. To find out if you qualify, see the page that links to federal qualifications and qualifications within each state and tribal land. Within each state, you will find out about qualifications for that state and how to apply for service within each phone company. A page also describes the program in Spanish.

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