The Lifeline program rules require that applicants prove low income eligibility or receive a government benefit, such as Medicaid or SNAP, according to the FCC. Federal guidelines allow only one Lifeline service per household, such as one home phone or one cellular phone, as of 2015.
Universal Service Administrative Company provides a pre-screening tool at LifeLineSupport.com for people to check their eligibility. Eligible subscribers receive discounts up to $9.25 from their phone providers, but they can also check for potential state assistance, according to USAC. About 2,000 eligible telephone companies provide these discounts in 2015. Subscribers must apply for discounts at participating home phone or cellular phone providers. The Lifeline Program reimburses the companies for the discounts that the service providers give to Lifeline customers.