The California Lifeline Program provides discounted cell phone services to household members who satisfy income requirements or are enrolled in a qualifying public assistance program. The program provides discounted cell phone services based only on these program-based or income-based qualifications.
Households can qualify for the California LifeLine cell phone if a member of the household is enrolled in assistance programs such as Medi-Cal or Medicaid, Low Income Home Energy Assistance, Section 8 or Federal Public Housing Assistance, Food Stamps, and the Women, Infants and Children program. Additional qualifying programs include National School Lunches, Head Start, Food Distribution on Indian Reservations, or any offering provided under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program.
As of June 2015, the California LifeLine cell phone is also granted to household's with a total annual gross income below $25,700 for one or two persons, $29,900 for three-person homes, and $36,200 for four-person homes. Households with more than four people must add $6,300 for each additional member to see if they qualify for LifeLine benefits.
Prospective applicants must contact their phone company to initiate the California LifeLine cell phone application. The phone company then mails a PIN after reviewing the eligibility rules with the applicant. The applicant must use this PIN when submitting the online or paper application with the California Public Utilities Commission.