Learn About Lifeline
Lifeline is a government benefit program from the Federal Communications Commission’s Universal Service Fund. It can help you get discounted landline or cell (wireless) phone service if you are below a certain income level.
How to Get Lifeline
There are two ways to qualify:
- Income based eligibility
- Program based eligibility
How to Apply for Lifeline benefits
If you qualify for Lifeline, there are three steps to receive a discount on your phone service
- Select a phone company
- Fill out an application you can get from the phone company
- The phone company will verify your identity and enroll you in the program
Learn whom to contact if you have a problem with the Lifeline program, or if you think someone is fraudulently getting Lifeline service.
To continue with your Lifeline service, you must recertify every year.
Mobile Phones For Emergencies
If you can’t afford any telephone service, you can still use a cell phone to contact 911 in case of an emergency. If you need a cell phone for this purpose, contact your state social service agency. It can help you find an emergency cell phone donation program near you.
Help for Low-Income Households
If you need help paying for your home energy costs, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) may be able to help with
- Paying for part of your heating or cooling bills
- Paying for some weatherization or low-cost home repairs that may lower your monthly energy bills
- Energy crisis assistance for immediate help
Eligibility and Where to Apply
Each local LIHEAP agency sets up its own eligibility requirements.
Contact your local LIHEAP agency:
LIHEAP does not pay for water or sewer bills. Learn more by reviewing LIHEAP’s list of frequently asked questions.
For additional help applying for LIHEAP benefits, call the National Energy Assistance Referral (NEAR), a free service, at 1-866-674-6327 (TTY: 1-866-367-6228) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other Options For Help with Gas, Oil, or Electric Bills
If your income is too high to qualify for LIHEAP but you need help with energy bills:
- Reach out to your local social services agency or non-profits organizations, which may have funds available through grants.
- Contact your gas, oil, or electric company about financial programs or new payment options.
Learn about the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) to help make repairs and save on your energy bills.
If you can’t afford medical care or prescription drugs, these state and federal programs may be able to help:
- HealthCare.gov helps you find insurance options, compare care, learn about prevention, and understand the Affordable Care Act.
- State human/social service agencies offer direct aid and referrals to other organizations.
- State Medicaid offices offer help to low-income people.
- Local Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offices offer programs designed to help veterans.
- Eldercare Locator information specialists put you in contact with resources and programs designed to help seniors.
- State Children’s Health Insurance Programs (SCHIP) help insure children of working families who cannot afford health insurance or don’t get it through their work.
- Benefits.gov allows you to complete a confidential questionnaire and receive a list of programs that may help.
- Local Social Security Administration (SSA) offices help those on Social Security and Medicare. You may also call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213.
For Medicare recipients in need of help, contact the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA)
Under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), you’re guaranteed access to an emergency medical evaluation, even if you can’t pay. The act requires hospitals that receive Medicare funding and that provide emergency services to evaluate anyone who comes to their emergency room and requests treatment. If the evaluation confirms that you have an emergency medical condition, including active labor, they are then required to provide stabilizing treatment for you regardless of your ability to pay.
Charity Care Programs
Charity care programs help uninsured patients who can’t afford to pay their medical bills and don’t qualify for government aid. The patient services department of your hospital can help you find out if you’re eligible. If you don’t qualify, the hospital may offer you a payment plan.
If you’re looking for help paying for your prescriptions, there are a number of local and federal agencies and programs you can contact:
- State human service agencies provide direct assistance to people in distress and referrals to other local organizations that may be able to help.
- Local health centers serve people with limited access to health care. You pay based on your income and family size.
- Medicare’s Prescription Drug Program can provide extra help with the cost of prescription drugs if you qualify and are a Medicare beneficiary.
- Use Healthfinder.gov’s list of prescription assistance resources to find more programs that could help you pay for your medicines.
Learn About Short-Term Financial Assistance
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), also known as welfare, is designed to help families recover from temporary difficulties and move forward.
Recipients may qualify for help with food, housing, home energy, child care, job training, and more.
Each state and tribal government’s TANF program is operated differently, and has a different name.
Each state and territory decides the specific eligibility criteria that must be met to receive financial assistance payments or other types of benefits and services.
Check with your local TANF office to learn whether you are eligible to receive financial assistance or other TANF benefits and services.
How to Get TANF
Contact your local TANF office to apply for financial assistance.
Report TANF Benefits Fraud
If you suspect possible TANF fraud, contact your local TANF office or contact the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Inspector General’s Fraud Hotline.
Information Source: https://www.usa.gov/help-with-bills