Requesting the FCC to Allow Consumers to Qualify for Lifeline and Linkup Benefits Based upon Their Low Income Status under the Federal Regulations

WHEREAS, universal service has been accepted as a national goal so that all consumers may enjoy affordable telephone service;

WHEREAS, Congress enacted the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and ordered that low-income consumers should have access to telecommunications services at rates that are just, reasonable, and affordable;

WHEREAS, the FCC in 1997 in its Universal Service Order ruled that under the federal regulations a consumer would be eligible for Lifeline and Linkup benefits only if the customer participated in Medicaid, food stamps, Supplementary Security Income (SSI), federal public housing assistance or Section 8, or Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP);

WHEREAS, the FCC has continued under its Lifeline and Linkup regulations to prohibit consumers from enrolling in the Lifeline or Linkup programs no matter how low their incomes unless the low-income consumers have enrolled in a designated public assistance program;

WHEREAS, many low-income consumers have not been able to successfully enroll in one of the designated public assistance programs or have chosen not to attempt such enrollment;

WHEREAS, in 2000 there were 21.8 million households at or below 150% of the federal poverty level, but only 9.9 million received various forms of public assistance;

WHEREAS, the national policy of welfare reform encourages consumers who are enrolled in public assistance programs to leave such public assistance programs;

WHEREAS, many consumers that leave public assistance programs continue to have a low income;

WHEREAS, consumers who are able to leave or avoid public assistance but still have a low income should not be penalized by being disqualified from receiving Lifeline and Linkup benefits;

WHEREAS, many consumers that are eligible for public assistance choose not to enroll in such programs because of the stigma, inconvenience or difficulty related to such enrollment, and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the FCC should reconsider its eligibility criteria under the federal regulations and allow consumers to enroll in the Lifeline and Linkup programs based upon their income, even if they are not enrolled in any public assistance programs;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Executive Committee of NASUCA is authorized to take all steps consistent with this Resolution in order to secure its implementation.


Approved by NASUCA: Submitted by: NASUCA Telecommunications Committee

Place: San Diego, California

Date November 14, 2000