If you need help paying your phone bill, there are government, state and nonprofit programs that can help. If you need temporary help with a past-due phone bill, a church or charity may have funds available to help you. However, if you're looking for reoccurring help with your telephone bill, government and state assistance programs can provide steady assistance.
Lifeline, a government assistance program, offers monthly discounts on home or wireless phone service. As of 2015, the discount is $9.25 per month for low-income subscribers. The program is available in every state. To qualify, your household income must be at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty level, or you must receive assistance through a government assistance program, such as:
Apply for Lifeline at Lifeline Support.org
Your state may offer a program to help low-income residents with phone bills. State-run programs are commonly administered by the state's utility commission or Department of Economic Security. For example:
- The Washington Telephone Assistance Program provides discounted rates on landline service for households receiving public assistance benefits.
- LinkUp helps pay phone installation costs. The program may vary among states. For example, in Illinois, the program pays up to $35 toward installation costs. The Texas Link Up program pays a maximum of $30 toward installation fees.
- The Telephone Assistance Program for Medically Challenged in Arizona provides monthly assistance with phone bills and helps with costs associated with establishing service. The program can be combined with Lifeline, for up to 100 percent coverage each month.
You're generally eligible for state assistance programs if you're receiving public assistance or fall below poverty guidelines based on household size. To find a program in your state, contact your state's Department of Human Resources or Health and Human Services.
Various charities and churches offer assistance. If you are struggling to pay your phone bill, you can contact a national charity, such as:
You don't necessarily have to receive public assistance from your state to qualify for help through a nonprofit organization. Generally, help is awarded to households experiencing a financial emergency or hardship. However, you may need to provide a past-due phone bill and proof of income.
Jeannine Mancini, a Florida native, has been writing business and personal finance articles since 2003. Her articles have been published in the Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Florida.