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Why Can Only One Person per Household Get a Lifeline Phone?

Sadly, the US government enforces a strict one Lifeline phone per household rule.  The phone companies do not have any leeway on this rule what so ever and are forced to abide by the rule.  This rule is reasonable for the vast majority of cases, but in certain instances it is unfair.

For example, some low income adults may live with other adults in the same house.  If one of these unrelated adults has a Lifeline phone, none of the other adults living at the same address can qualify for a Lifeline phone.  In an extreme case, a person living in a home for homeless adults with 200 other adults, might not qualify for a Lifeline phone another person living at the same address already has a Lifeline phone.  So in this case, if one person living at the home has a free government cell phone the other 199 adults will not qualify for Lifeline service.

If for whatever reason, you have more than one Lifeline phone or there are more than two Lifeline phones in one household, we strongly advise you to contact the phone company that you do not want as your Lifeline provider and cancel your service with them so you are left with a single Lifeline provider.  Users that are found to be violating this rule may be subject to criminal and/or civil penalties!

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