Telephone Assistance and Internet Assistance

Last updated: January 25, 2024

There are a number of programs to assist low-income individuals pay for phone related costs.

The Lifeline program provides discounts on phone service for qualifying low-income consumers. Lifeline is limited to one discount per household consisting of wireline, wireless or broadband (internet). The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) helps low-income households pay for internet service and connected devices like a laptop or tablet. You can combine a Lifeline service and an Affordable Connectivity Program service with the same or different providers.

To apply for services, go to the FCC Lifeline website. To print and mail-in your application, click here to download a form.

Landline Phone Assistance:

Programs through Verizon provide a discount on monthly local telephone bills and help reduce the cost of initiating telephone service. Discounts vary by company, but are approximately $10.50 to $15.67/month from a telephone bill and up to 50% off the cost of installation.

Individuals or families receiving any of the following benefits may be eligible: Cash assistance, SSI, GPA, Medical Assistance/RIte Care, SNAP, LIHEAP or RIPAE (only if qualify for 60% discount).

Cell Phone Assistance:

A number of companies provided free cell phones with limited free minutes for Rhode Islanders receiving government assistance benefits or who have income less than 135% of the federal poverty level ($18,347/individual).

Please contact the companies directly to find out specific eligibility requirements and how to apply. To check with wireless service providers and compare service planes, visit the RI Public Utility Commission website.

Internet Assistance

You are eligible for ACP if you or your dependents are receiving government assistance benefits or have income less than 200% of the federal poverty level ($27,180 /individual). If you are currently enrolled in the Lifeline program, you do not have to apply again for the ACP.

If your household is eligible, you could receive:

  • Up to a $30/month discount on your internet service
  • Up to a $75/month discount if your household is on qualifying Tribal lands
  • A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer (with a co-payment of more than $10 but less than $50)
  • A low-cost service plan that may be fully covered through the ACP

To check which companies are providing ACP, visit the Universal Service Administrative Company website.

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