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Wireless Lifeline Supporters Rally for Federal Program Aiding Transition From Welfare to Work

A wide cross section of consumer, senior, and low-income groups are joining Keeping Americans Connected to Opportunity (KACO), a Facebook-based campaign devoted to supporting the federal wireless Lifeline program.

Under the program, eligible low-income Americans are provided access to telecommunications services via cell phones with a specific number of minutes per month. Studies have shown that wireless Lifeline helps such individuals either find work or keep their existing jobs.

KACO Campaign Coordinator Maureen Thompson says: "Lifeline connects Americans to opportunity and helps people of limited resources make the transition from welfare to work. Without Lifeline, millions of Americans couldn't afford basic phone service. Lifeline connects needy Americans to employers, healthcare providers, emergency services, and family. The Lifeline program is not 'political’; it has always enjoyed broad bipartisan support. Lifeline was established by the Federal Communications Commission under the Reagan Administration and modified under a Republican-controlled Congress in 1996."

Other key facts about wireless Lifeline include the following:

  • Cutting the Lifeline program won't reduce the deficit by even a penny. No federal tax dollars are used to fund Lifeline.
  • Less than one-sixth of Universal Service Funds funds (16%) are used to support Lifeline.
  • You must be a low-income person to be eligible to participate in Lifeline. Lifeline eligibility requirements vary from state to state, but in most instances, eligible low-income individuals have an income that is at or below 135% of the poverty line, or qualify for one of the following programs: Medicaid, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or the National School Lunch Program.
  • Only about one-third of eligible U.S. households are enrolled in Lifeline. A total of 8.6 million Americans received Lifeline benefits in 2009. Nationwide, only six states—Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Virginia—had Lifeline participation rates that exceeded 50% of eligible households.

For more information, go to Keeping Americans Connected to Opportunity.