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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.

The 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.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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RE: isn't this racist?
By wolrah on 2/13/2013 8:30:10 PM , Rating: 2
I'm actually very surprised they changed the rule requiring that you prove you are eligible. Heck, you don't have to prove you are eligible to vote bc that would be racist, and there cant be that much fraud going on there....

A few things:

1. You only have to be a citizen to vote, there is no specific documentation that you are absolutely required to have to exist as a citizen. Someone born to a poor family may not even have a birth certificate readily available, much less a photo ID. Requiring ID means those who are legal citizens yet do not have ID must go get ID, which requires time and sometimes money. Those who don't have ID and for whom getting ID may be a burden tend to be urban nonwhite, thus why voter ID laws are considered racist.

You must be on other programs to qualify for this phone, thus there must be some paperwork which proves it. This is what makes requiring proof in this situation OK. Anyone who qualifies should be able to easily show proof.

2. Your last sentence insinuates that there is a lot of in-person voter fraud, the thing voter ID laws purport to prevent. Except that not one bit of evidence in favor of this has ever been produced. Even that Republican lawyers' group did a study trying to show fraud and couldn't come up with anything. The vast majority of actual vote fraud that's ever been shown to exist has been by insiders, yet those who want voter ID laws keep making reference to a problem that has never been shown to exist.

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