Phone Discount Verification Frequently Asked Questions for Consumers
What is it?
If you are a consumer that receives the phone discounts (Lifeline and TAP) on your phone bill, you may periodically be contacted by your telephone provider to provide proof that you are still eligible for the discount. The provider will ask you to either provide proof of your participation in a qualifying public assistance program or for proof that your income is below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
Why are carriers asking for proof that I am eligible for the phone discounts?
Carriers are required by state and federal law to confirm that a certain percentage of their customers receiving these phone discounts are still eligible for the discount. They are required to obtain proof from those customers that they are eligible. If they do not receive proof within 60 days of sending out the initial request to the customer, they must remove the phone discount from that customer's bill.
What if I do not provide proof of my eligibility within the 60 day deadline?
The discount will be removed from your bill. In addition, if you attempt to re-apply for the program within a year, you will need to submit proof that you are eligible for the discount.
My carrier is requesting very private information, such as tax records, to prove that I am eligible for the phone discount. Is this okay?
Yes because carriers are required to obtain proof that your income is below a certain level or that you are on a qualifying public assistance program, they must obtain proof that many consumers would consider to contain private information. Carriers may only use this proof to ensure that you are still eligible for the phone discount, not for other purposes.
What if I have a complaint or questions about this process?
The Minnesota Department of Commerce is required to investigate any complaint against a carrier regarding the phone discount program, and is also available for questions. You may contact us at 651-297-3375 firstname.lastname@example.org.