Due to the ongoing pandemic, the FCC extended deadlines for many aspects of its Lifeline program for those living on tribal land through November 30. Lifeline provides qualifying low-income consumers discounts on voice or broadband internet access service.
Telemedicine, telework, and online learning continue to be necessary social distancing measures, which have emphasized the importance of access to affordable communications services for low-income consumers, said the agency. That’s why it’s extending Lifeline waivers for rules governing recertification, reverification, general de-enrollment, subscriber usage, income documentation, and documentation requirements for subscribers residing in rural areas on tribal lands.
Extension of the waiver of the recertification and reverification rules will prevent the de-enrollment of any Lifeline subscribers who would otherwise have been required to certify their continued eligibility to the National Lifeline Eligibility Verifier during the waiver period. Because the National Verifier sends recertification notices to subscribers 90 days prior to their anniversary dates, the waiver will impact Lifeline subscribers with anniversary dates that fall on or between April 14, 2020, and February 28, 2021.
The FCC directed the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) not to kick off the Lifeline list any subscribers who don’t respond to a reverification documentation request for those whose deadlines fall on or before November 30. The Commission also told the USAC to not open any new reverification documentation requests on or before November 30, and to provide impacted subscribers a new opportunity to provide any necessary eligibility documentation after the waiver period ends.
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