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Phone Discounts for Low-Income Users


Programs and Savings:

  • Lifeline provides qualified users a discount of $9.25 on monthly charges for the primary home phone line, even if it's a cell phone. 

Tribal lands residents may receive an additional $25 under the discount.

  • Link-Up offers a 100 percent reduction, up to $100, off installation charges to qualifying residents of Tribal lands. Link-Up will NOT cover the cost of a phone or wiring your home.

  • Telephone Assistance Plan (TAP) provides a monthly discount of $3.50 on home phone service (excluding cell phones). 

Qualification:

1) Total household income does not exceed 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines;

OR

2) Participation in one (or more) of these programs:

  • Medicaid (Medical Assistance)
  • Food support (Food Stamps)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
  • Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)
  • National School Lunch Program's free lunch program (NSLP)
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs Program (Tribal TANF, Head Start Subsidy)

Deposit fees:

  • If you have financial or credit problems, you may be required to pay a deposit before setting up service.
  • Eligible users of the Lifeline and Link-Up programs do not have to pay a deposit if they agree to limit their use of long distance service with "toll limitation" or "toll blocking." Users can still make long-distance calls using pre-paid calling cards.
  • If the phone company threatens to disconnect service because of late or non-payment of bills, ask the company to restrict phone service to local numbers only.
  • Deposit requirements and toll restrictions may not apply to wireless Lifeline service that does not distinguish between local and long distance minutes.

How to apply:

Not all telephone companies offer Lifeline and Link-Up discounts. Contact your phone company and ask for a Lifeline/Link-Up/TAP application, or download an application. If your local telephone company is not authorized to provide Lifeline, Link-Up or TAP discounts, contact the Department of Commerce at telecom.commerce@state.mn.us or 651-539-1876 to find an authorized provider.

Other Important Information:

  • Discounts cannot be applied to past due telephone bills.
  • Once you are on Lifeline and TAP you may be asked periodically to verify that you remain eligible. If you do not respond, the phone company is required to stop the discounts.
  • It can take up to two months for the discounts to show up on your bill. You must pay the bill until that time.
  • Lifeline, Link-Up and TAP discounts are only available for one line per household.
  • If you qualify based on participation in a federal aid program, the phone must be in the name of the person who receives those benefits. If you qualify based on the National School Lunch Program, the phone may be in the name of an adult.
  • Find providers that offer Lifeline

Complaints:

To make a complaint against a telephone company about the TAP program, call or e-mail the Department of Commerce at telecom.commerce@state.mn.us or 651-539-1876.

Questions:

For questions about TAP, Lifeline or Link-Up, contact your local telephone company. The Public Utilities Commission web site also has information about telephone service discount programs.

Additional help:
The Minnesota Telephone Equipment Distribution (TED) Program provides free specialized telecommunications equipment to income eligible Minnesotans who have trouble using the telephone due to a hearing loss, speech disability or physical disability. Call 1-800-657-3663 (voice), 1-888-206-6555 (TTY), or visit the TED web site at www.tedprogram.org. for more information.