FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Sept. 20, 2021
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Public Service Commission are joining with agencies across the country marking this week as Lifeline Awareness Week, urging eligible Michiganders to take advantage of the Lifeline telephone and broadband discount program.
Lifeline is both a state and federal program that provides discounted voice or broadband service to veterans, seniors, and low-income Michiganders. This year, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners has designated Sept. 20-24 as Lifeline Awareness Week to bring attention to the discounts. As the COVID-19 pandemic made clear, phone and high-speed internet are vital to everyday life, yet both services can be out of reach for people of limited means.
"Lifeline helps keep income-qualified Michiganders stay connected to family and friends, healthcare providers, work, and school by ensuring reliable, access to phone and broadband internet services," said Governor Whitmer, who issued a proclamation marking this as Lifeline Awareness Week in Michigan. "The Lifeline discounts are even more critical as Michiganders adapt to increasingly remote or virtual options at work, in school, or for healthcare delivery as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and usher in a new era of prosperity for our families, small businesses, and communities."
Dozens of telecommunications carriers in Michigan offer Lifeline. Through Lifeline, income-eligible people under age 65 get a minimum monthly discount on their bill of $8.25. Those 65 and older receive a discount of $12.35.
To qualify for the state program, a Michigan customer must have an income that is at or below 135% of the federal poverty level or participate in one of these programs:
In 2020, 258,200 Michiganders were Lifeline subscribers, according to the Universal Service Administrative Co.
For more information about Lifeline, see the MPSC's or Federal Lifeline or Michigan Lifeline consumer tip sheets or contact the MPSC at 800-292-9555. To find a provider, check with the MPSC's list of participating companies to see if your local landline telephone company, wireless provider, or broadband provider participates in Lifeline.
In addition to Lifeline, Michiganders who meet eligibility requirements also may be able to receive financial assistance through the Federal Communications Commission's Emergency Broadband Benefit program. The program provides a $50 monthly discount on broadband bills - $75 a month for those living on qualifying tribal lands - as well as a one-time $100 discount toward a laptop, desktop computer or tablet purchased through an eligible provider. More than 195,000 Michigan households have received assistance through the benefit.
To be eligible for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program, a member of a household must meet one of the following criteria:
There are three ways to apply for the benefit: