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State program giving discounts on phone, internet costs

CHICAGO (HOI) - A recently approved program provides select Illinois residents struggling to pay for phone and internet during the pandemic with a discount on their bills.

The Illinois Commerce Commission recently approved a resolution to raise awareness about the federal "Lifeline" program, which offers discounts on broadband and phone services.

Lifeline is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Universal Service Fund program that provides eligible low-income customers with monthly discounts on Internet or phone service (up to $9.25). Those eligible to receive the discount must already participate in certain federal benefits programs such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Federal Public Housing, or the Veterans Pension and Survivor’s Benefit; or have a household income at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines.

The Lifeline discount is limited to one benefit per household. Additionally, in Illinois, a program funded entirely through voluntary donations subsidizes the cost of phone installation for Lifeline participants.

To learn more about this program, visit

Jon Schoenheider

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