Lifeline is a low-income phone service administered by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. Several national phone service carriers participate in the Lifeline program, including AT&T and Verizon. The amount of money program participants save each month on their phone bill varies from state to state.
Individuals participating in the FCC Lifeline program must meet all eligibility rules for the program. To receive the Lifeline discount, individuals must show proof of income, which includes paycheck stubs, benefit documents and tax returns. The Lifeline service is offered to one phone service account holder per household. Once enrolled in the program, Lifeline discounts appear on monthly phone bills. Lifeline is not available through carriers in all states or in all areas of participating states.
Some individual phone carriers offer inexpensive phone plans that are ideal for lower income budgets. The best options for individuals with limited funds are carriers offering contract-free plans. Instead of signing an annual contract for one or more years, consumers pay for monthly phone service. Cricket and Republic Wireless are two companies that fit this budget model, as of 2015. Low income users can opt for either a Cricket basic plan or the low-cost talk and text plan. Republic Wireless offers some of the best phone savings for people on a tight budget.