Discounts available for phone service

Rep. Leon Lillie
District 43B

Every day, millions of Minnesotans use their home phones and cell phones to do business, look for employment opportunities, or catch up with family, friends, and loved ones.

I think we can all agree that access to affordable, reliable phone service is vital to a healthy, thriving economy and middle class. Unfortunately, the cost of that service can add up quickly for some Minnesotans who are struggling to find a job and support their families.

Thankfully, a discount program called Lifeline provides discounts on basic residential telephone and cellular service for qualifying low-income consumers.

Lifeline currently provides customers using traditional phone plans with a discount of $9.25 per month or an allotment of 250 free anytime minutes on participating pre-paid cellular plans. For landline customers in Minnesota, an additional discount of $3.50 per month is provided through the State Telephone Assistance Program.

To qualify for discounts, your telephone service must be in your name and you must participate in one or more qualifying assistance programs or have income at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

Qualifying assistance programs include Medicaid/Medical Assistance, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Energy Assistance, the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), Food Support and many others. Qualifying income must be at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.

The level for a family of two is $20,939 and a family of four is $31,793.

For an application or more information, you can contact your local landline or cellular phone company, visit www.puc.state.mn.us orwww.lifeline.gov, call the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission at 651-296-0406 or 1-800-657-3782, or email consumer.puc@state.mn.us.

As always, you can also contact my office with any questions. You can reach me by phone at (651) 296-1188, by email at rep.leon.lillie@house.mn, or by postal mail at 371 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN 55155.

-- Leon Lillie is a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party who represents district 43B. He is currently serving his fifth term.

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