Discounts available for some Kansans struggling to pay phone bills

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TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – There is a program available to help low income and recently unemployed Kansans who are having trouble paying their phone bills.

The Lifeline program offers phone service discounts of up to $17.02 a month for those who qualify.

Currently more than 10 million low-income Americans, including 35,000 Kansans, are benefiting from Lifeline discounts on home and wireless phones as well as broadband.

The Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) is trying to raise awareness about the Lifeline program, especially since so many people are struggling financially during the coronavirus pandemic.

The KCC says those who qualify can receive up to $9.25 a month off their monthly bill. Participants may also be eligible for an additional $7.77 monthly discount.

Fifty-two telecommunication companies offer Lifeline services in the state.

The KCC says people enrolled in these programs qualify for Lifeline:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FHPA)
  • Veterans Pension & Survivors Pension Benefit
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Tribally Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Head Start Tribal Programs (only those meeting its income qualifying standard)
  • Food Distribution Program on Tribal Lands.

Those at 135% of the federal poverty level also qualify.

The KCC says due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the requirement of three months of income documentation has been waived until June 30, 2020.

Instead, recently unemployed individuals may apply for the program by submitting an official document, including notice of unemployment benefits to confirm their income-based eligibility for Lifeline support.

More information on Lifeline eligibility and enrollment is available on the KCC’s website: http://kcc.ks.gov/telecommunications/lifeline or by calling the KCC’s Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection at 800-662-0027 or 785-271-3140.

For a complete list of Kansas Lifeline providers, go to https://data.usac.org/publicreports/CompaniesNearMe/State/StateOption/KS.

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