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Tribal Lifeline Logo

Individuals who reside on tribal lands and meet the eligibility criteria may qualify for discounts through Tribal Lifeline and Tribal Link Up programs. Tribal lands are defined as any federally-recognized Indian tribe's reservation, pueblo, or colony; Indian Allotments; and areas that fall outside the boundaries of existing Tribal lands but have been designated by the Federal Communications Commission as Tribal lands for the purpose of receiving Tribal Lifeline and Tribal Link Up support.

Tribal Lifeline helps eligible residents of tribal lands save up to $34.25 on their monthly phone bill. The discount applies to wireline or wireless residential telephone service plans and is limited to one line per household. Tribal Link Up provides a one-time discount for the connection or activation charge for new telephone service at the applicant's primary residence. The discount is a 100 percent reduction, up to $100, of the customary charge to initiate telecommunications service. Link Up also allows you to pay any remaining amount owed on initiation of service (up to $200) on a deferred schedule, interest free.

Eligible consumers may also be able to sign up for free toll blocking or toll limitation service that either blocks or limits long-distance calls from your phone.

Both programs have eligibility requirements. You may qualify if you, one or more of your dependents, or your household participates in any of the following programs:
  • Medicaid (example, Title XIX/Medical State Supplemental Assistance)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • National School Lunch Program's Free Lunch Program
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF)
  • Head Start (if income eligibility criteria are met)
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • Or, if your household income is no more than 135 percent of the federal poverty income guidelines (see table below).

You may be asked to provide proof of your eligibility.


2017 Health & Human Services Poverty Guidelines
Number in Residence 135% Guideline (Annual)     Number in Residence 135% Guideline (Annual)  
1 $16,281     5 $38,853  
2 $21,924     6 $44,496  
3 $27,567     7 $50,139  
4 $33,210     8 $55,782  

For each additional person after 8, add $5,643 to the annual guideline.

Federal Register, Vol. 82, No. 19, January 31, 2017, pp. 8831-8832
(Applicable to the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia only.)

To apply for Tribal Lifeline or Tribal Link Up on Tribal Lands, contact your telephone company for a Tribal Lifeline or Tribal Link Up Assistance Application, complete the form, and then return it to your telephone company. A company representative will contact you to verify your eligibility and complete the application process. You will be required to provide documentation to prove eligibility.

Important Information
  • Not all telephone providers in South Dakota offer the Tribal Lifeline and Tribal Link Up discounts.
  • Tribal Lifeline is available on only one line per household. A household is defined as any individual or group of individuals living together at the same address as one economic unit. An "economic unit" consists of all adult individuals contributing to and sharing in the income and expenses of a household. A household may include related and unrelated persons.
  • Tribal Lifeline and Tribal Link Up discounts cannot be applied to past due telephone bills.
  • It can take up to two months for the discounts to show up on your bill as a credit. You must pay the bill until that time.
  • Tribal Link Up will not cover the cost of a phone or wiring your home.
  • You must notify the telephone company when you no longer qualify for the program.

Rev. 04/17/17