Millions of Americans Who Didn't Qualify Claimed U.S. Lifeline Phones
February 13, 2013 9:53 AM
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Carriers say most people drop simply didn't respond to requests
The United States government has collected a tax on phone lines under the Lifeline program that began back in 1984. The purpose of this tax was to provide phone service for people who were unable to afford it on their own to ensure that these people weren't cut off from emergency services, jobs, or family. Every American citizen who has a phone line has paid into this Lifeline program.
Payouts in the program in 2008 amounted to $819 million. In 2012, the U.S. government spent $2.2 billion providing free phone service to low-income Americans.
In an effort to squash government waste, the FCC believed that many of the Americans who were claiming the free phone service were not eligible so it tightened the rules last year forcing carriers to verify that existing subscribers were in fact eligible.
Wall Street Journal
reports that far more subscribers to the program were dropped than expected. A review has shown that the top five carrier recipients of Lifeline support had a total of 41% of over 6 million subscribers that couldn't demonstrate their eligibility or simply didn't respond to requests for certification.
These top five carriers were AT&T, Telrite Corp, Tag Mobile USA, Verizon, and Virgin Mobile. Together these carriers account for 34% of all Lifeline subscribers as of May 2012. The Lifeline program is open to subscribers that meet the federal poverty guidelines, are on food stamps, Medicaid, or other assistance programs.
Previous program rules allowed consumers to certify themselves for free phone service without having to prove they met federal poverty guidelines.
Wall Street Journal
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Dr of crap
Dr of crap
2/13/2013 1:01:31 PM
I don't have a problem providing for those that NEED it. But as stated all that had to happen prior was to say that you qualified. REALLY? That's our govt. Can't get even a simple basic thing right. And this is the kind of thing that causes us on DT, and all over, to be against this kind of free services.
I'm on the fence with this one, landline yea, cell service, don't know. But does our govt have to fund sex reappointment surgery? Sad but they do. And that kind of thing also has a majority against free handouts. TOO many people don't TRY becauae our govt hands out money and goods too easily.
There needs to be more involvement in those that receive the funds, then just waiting for the govt to step in and hand out what they need, and more.
But then again, donkeys will fly before that happens. Can't get re-elected if you cut program access to anyone!
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