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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. Lifeline also supports broadband internet service and broadband-voice bundles.

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% reduction, up to $100, of the customary charge to initiate telecommunications service. Tribal 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
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps)
  • 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.


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 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.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • If your Lifeline-supported service is free, use it at least once every 30 days. If you don't, you'll get a 15-day notice to use it or it will get turned off.
  • Tribal Link Up will not cover the cost of a phone or wiring your home.
  • If you change your address, no longer qualify for Lifeline, or more than one person in you 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//2021