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Staying connected to family, friends and businesses is an important part of life. Having access to affordable telephone service for your home makes staying connected easier. You may qualify for Lifeline, a special program that helps reduce the cost of telephone service so you can connect for less.

Lifeline helps eligible consumers save up to $9.25 on their monthly phone bill. Subscribers may receive a discount on either a wireline or wireless service, but may not receive a discount on both at the same time. Lifeline also supports broadband internet service and broadband-voice bundles. FCC rules prohibit more than one Lifeline service per household. Residents of tribal lands, see Tribal Lifeline and Tribal Link Up.

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.

The Lifeline program has eligibility requirements. You may qualify if you, one or more of your dependents, or your household participates in any of the following programs:
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
  • 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.


2021 Health & Human Services Poverty Guidelines
Number in Residence 135% Guideline (Annual)     Number in Residence 135% Guideline (Annual)  
1 $17,388     5 $41,904  
2 $23,517     6 $48,033  
3 $29,646     7 $54,162  
4 $35,775     8 $60,291  

For each additional person after 8, add $6,129 to the annual guideline.

Federal Register, Vol. 86, No. 19, February 1, 2021, pp 7732-7734
(Applicable to the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia only.)

To apply for Lifeline, contact your telephone company for the Lifeline Assistance Application, complete the application, 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
  • Lifeline is a government assistance program and the service is non-transferable.
  • Not all telephone providers in South Dakota offer the Lifeline discount.
  • 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.
  • The Lifeline discount cannot be applied to past due telephone bills.
  • Customers must remain with their company for at least 60 days for voice service and at least one year for internet service (some exceptions apply).
  • Once you are on Lifeline, you may be required to re-certify your continued eligibility for Lifeline at any time. If you do not re-certify within 60 days, you'll lose your Lifeline discount.
  • If your Lifeline service is free, use it at least once every 30 days. If you don't, you will get a 15-day notice to use it or it will get turned off.
  • It can take up to two months for the discount to show up on your bill as a credit. You must pay the bill until that time.
  • If you change your address, no longer qualify for Lifeline, or more than one person in your household gets Lifeline, you must notify your company within 30 days.

Emergency Broadband Benefit
If you are currently enrolled in the Lifeline program, you automatically qualify for the Emergency Broadband Benefit program. You do not need to apply again. If you are not enrolled in the Lifeline program, you may still be eligible for the Emergency Broadband benefit. See eligibility criteria at

The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price. Only one monthly service discount and one device discount is allowed per household.

You can apply your Emergency Broadband Benefit and your Lifeline benefit to the same or separate services. Talk to your Lifeline provider about the services they may have available as part of Emergency Broadband Benefit, including options to apply the discounts to your existing Lifeline service, or contact another broadband provider participating in the EBB Program to apply the benefit to a separate broadband service.

It's important to understand that this funding is temporary. The Emergency Broadband Benefit program will end when the fund runs out of money or six months after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declares an end to the COVID-19 health emergency, whichever comes first. Participating households will need to opt-in to continue receiving broadband services from their provider after the program ends. If a household chooses to continue receiving service after the end of the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, they will be billed the broadband provider’s general monthly rate.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit program is open to select groups not enrolled in the Lifeline program. For more information about program requirements and eligibility, visit the Federal Communications Commission’s website at

Rev. 11/02/21