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We have starting taking it for granted, this extremely convenient system in our lives, telecommunications. From ordering a late-night pizza to having all-night-long shouting matches about some inane political issue with someone on the other side of the globe, we have loved it, hated it, manipulated it, exhausted it and made telephones indispensible. What is so indispensible to us is not even dreamable to many. And that is where Lifeline Telephone Services comes in. A government program, Lifeline provides discounts on monthly telephone service for eligible low-income consumers. This is to give them access to the opportunities and security provided by the telephone. This overwhelming presence in our lives that we use and abuse is for many an immediate necessity – a means to access jobs, be in touch with the families and have 911 services.
Lifeline is supported by the federal Universal Service Fund (USF). Since the lowest of telephone subscribership levels are on Tribal lands, the residents of Tribal Lands will be getting enhanced benefits from this Lifeline programme.
Another federal programme called Link Up reduces the initial installation or activation fees of certain telephone providers on Tribal lands.
The beneficiaries of Lifeline program will also get monthly discounts up to $34.25 off the cost of telephone services. This discount may vary somewhat from state to state, depending on whether the state has its own Lifeline program. The Link Up programme gives qualified subscribers in Tribal Lands with a one-time discount of up to $100 on the initial installation or activation of a wireline or wireless telephone.
Security is an inherent right of every human and it should be available on demand. But there are many belonging to the low-income category who don’t have the means to avail the 911 services, especially those living in remote tribal lands. Understanding this need for security, the government is offering 911 services to the low-income consumers under the Lifeline program.
Threatening situations in our day-to-day lives are usually rare; security is taken for granted while we happily munch popcorn and watch horrifying scenarios happening in movies – airy headed baby-sitters being stalked or couples getting into impossible disasters and crawling over to the telephone to call 911. It is easy to forget the convenience of 911 services when people generally lead relatively passive, safe lives. But it is a necessity, more important that you can imagine. There is a dangerous uncertainty about life that only people who had a brush with peril would truly understand. It is truly heartening to know that through Lifeline, more people will now have 911 security.
The Lifeline program is available to eligible low-income consumers in every state, territory, commonwealth, and on Tribal lands. To participate in the program, you must either have an income that is at or below 135% of the federal Poverty Guidelines or participate in one of the following assistance programs:
-Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps or SNAP)
-Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
-Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
-Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
-Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
-National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Program
-Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
-Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF)
-Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
-Head Start (if income eligibility criteria are met) or
-State assistance programs (if applicable).