Telephone Service Discounts
Lifeline Program and Link-Up America:
This program is known as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Universal Service Program for Low-Income Consumers. Federal law requires telephone companies conducting business across state lines to offer discount telephone installation and service fees for low income individuals. Lifeline programs reduce monthly telephone charges for low income families while Link-Up America reduces installation charges. Lifeline and Link-Up America programs can vary from state to state. States in which telephone companies recover all their discount program costs from the federal Universal Service Fund must use the federal program eligibility criteria. States which have their own discount programs, like Oklahoma (see O.S. 17-139.105), may have different or additional eligibility criteria. See below:
In Oklahoma, the Lifeline Program provides a $7.85 monthly discount for local telephone service. Customers thus pay between $7 and $11 a month for basic service, depending on where they live. Fifty percent of the standard installation fee is also waived.
To be eligible for Oklahoma’s Lifeline Program a person must be eligible for or receive assistance from one of the following programs:
- Food Stamps
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI)
- Vocational Rehabilitation, including, but not limited to, aid to the deaf and hard of hearing
- State Sales Tax Relief Act
Enhanced Lifeline Services:
This program provides $1 a month basic telephone service and a 50 percent waiver of the standard telephone installation fee. Qualifying individuals must live on current or former tribal land. (64 of Oklahoma’s 77 counties include former tribal land.) A person must also be participating in one of these programs:
- Food Stamps
- Vocational Rehabilitation
- Oklahoma Sales Tax Relief
- Bureau of Indian Affairs general assistance
- Tribally administered TANF
- Head Start
- National Free School Lunch Program
To apply for these discounts through A T & T call:
- 1-800-464-7928. Press menu choice #1, then select menu choice for Lifeline Enhanced Lifeline or Link-Up America.
- 1-800-246-4999 (A T & T number for regular service inquiries, automated)
- 1-800-559-0050 Spanish Language
- 1-800-522-8506 and 1-800-722-0353 Voice/TTY Relay
A T & T will give the applicant a card to take to the DHS county office where their caseworker will stamp and sign the card to verify that the individual participates in one of the DHS programs listed. DHS caseworkers may also directly inform clients about the discount programs and provide them with stamped verification cards and refer them to the telephone company already prepared to make application for the discount programs.
Indian tribe social services provide verification if a person participates in one of the tribal programs listed. For information on how to verify vocational rehabilitation participation contact: Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS), at (405) 951-3584 or 1-800-845-8476.
To apply for discounts through Cox Communications, which services the Oklahoma City Metro area, (at the time of this publishing) call (405) 600-8282. Press 0 when message begins. Speak with the Customer Service Representative about the Lifeline, Enhanced Lifeline or Link-Up America program. You will be sent a form to fill out for each program to return to them. You will be notified if you are eligible for these programs. Other areas may be added soon.
For information of these programs with other telephone companies, call their local business office.
Directory Assistance Charge Exemption Due to Disability
If you are unable to use the SBC white page directory due to a disability you can apply for an exemption from the regular Directory Assistance charge. Call 1-800-585-7928 or your local SBC business office for information. When phone service is provided by another company, contact that company’s business or customer service offices for information on any Directory Assistance provisions for customers with disabilities.
For Additional Information
If you have questions or concerns, contact the utility company first. Most situations can be resolved with the customer service representatives that are trained to help you. If you are not satisfied, you may then contact the Corporation Commission, Consumer Services Division. 1-800-522-8154 / (405)521-2331 /TTY Number: (405)521-3513. www.occ.state.ok.us.