47 CFR § 54.409 - Consumer qualification for Lifeline.

§ 54.409 Consumer qualification for Lifeline.

(a) To constitute a qualifying low-income consumer:

(1) A consumer's household income as defined in § 54.400(f) must be at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for a household of that size; or

(2) The consumer, one or more of the consumer's dependents, or the consumer's household must receive benefits from one of the following federal assistance programs: Medicaid; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; Supplemental Security Income; Federal Public Housing Assistance; or Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit.

(3) Consumers that are survivors can qualify to receive emergency communications support from the Lifeline program without regard to whether the survivor meets the otherwise applicable eligibility requirements of the Lifeline program in this part, if:

(i) The survivor suffers from financial hardship as defined by § 54.400(s); and

(ii) The survivor requested a line separation as required under 47 U.S.C. 345(c)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934.

(4) Compliance with paragraph (a)(3) of this section will not be required until this paragraph (a)(4) is removed or contains a compliance date, which will not occur until the later of July 15, 2024; or after OMB completes review of any information collection requirements in this subpart, §§ 54.403(a)(4), 54.410(d)(2)(ii), 54.410(i), and 54.424, that the Wireline Competition Bureau determines is required under the Paperwork Reduction Act or the Wireline Competition Bureau determines that such review is not required. The Commission directs the Wireline Competition Bureau to announce a compliance date for the requirements of paragraph (a)(3) by subsequent Public Notice and notification in the Federal Register and to cause this section to be revised accordingly.

(b) A consumer who lives on Tribal lands is eligible for Lifeline service as a “qualifying low-income consumer” as defined by § 54.400(a) and as an “eligible resident of Tribal lands” as defined by § 54.400(e) if that consumer meets the qualifications for Lifeline specified in paragraph (a) of this section or if the consumer, one or more of the consumer's dependents, or the consumer's household participates in one of the following Tribal-specific federal assistance programs: Bureau of Indian Affairs general assistance; Tribally administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families; Head Start (only those households meeting its income qualifying standard); or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.

(c) In addition to meeting the qualifications provided in paragraph (a) or (b) of this section, in order to constitute a qualifying low-income consumer, a consumer must not already be receiving a Lifeline service, and there must not be anyone else in the subscriber's household subscribed to a Lifeline service.

[77 FR 12970, Mar. 2, 2012, as amended at 77 FR 38534, June 28, 2012; 81 FR 33093, May 24, 2016; 88 FR 84447, Dec. 5, 2023]