You may be eligible for assistance in paying your telephone or internet bill if you receive benefits from certain low-income assistance programs or are having trouble paying your telephone bill. For more information or an application form, contact Park Region Telephone, Valley Telephone, Rothsay Telephone or Otter Tail Telcom or the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
There are Two Programs
Minnesota’s Telephone Assistance Plan (TAP) offers a monthly credit of $7.00 on your landline telephone service plan. You may receive the TAP credit on one landline per household.
The Federal Lifeline Program offers a monthly discount of $9.25 on some landline telephone service plans. Lifeline also offers discounts on some wireless telephone service plans and some broadband internet service plans (that’s NEW). You may receive the Lifeline discount on one service per household. The definition of a “household” is anyone living at an address including children, relatives, people not related to you, etc. who share income(s) and household expenses.
The telephone or broadband service must be in your name. You must show proof that you or a member of your household participates in at least one of the following programs or is income eligible:
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Food Support/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Medicaid/Medical Assistance
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Veterans Pension or Survivors Pension Benefit
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance and living on Tribal lands
- Tribal Programs (and live on federally-recognized Tribal lands)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) and living on Tribal lands
- Tribally Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF) and living on Tribal lands
If you do not participate in any of the programs listed, you may qualify if your income is at or below 135% of the 2018 Federal Poverty Income Guidelines:
Household Size | Income
One | $16,389
Two | $22,221
Three | $28,053
Four | $33,885
Five | $39,717
Six | $45,549
For each additional person, add $5,832
(The federal poverty guidelines are typically updated at the end of January.)
Another version of the Lifeline/Link-Up Program is the Tribal Program. It provides basic telephone service for just $1 per month to people of all races living on tribal lands and expands the eligibility requirements to also include those participating in Tribal Head Start (those meeting the incoming qualifying standard), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) general assistance programs, Tribally administered Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TTANF) and the Tribal National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Program.
Enrollment Information: We have contracted with NECA Services, Inc. (NSI) to perform many of the reporting and auditing functions required by the FCC for this program. To enroll in the Lifeline/Link-up Program, please call the number that corresponds to your serving company:
- Park Region Telephone: 866-290-1721
- Otter Tail Telcom: 866-290-1730
- Valley Telephone: 866-290-1729
- Rothsay Telephone: 866-367-8191
Important Information on How to Apply
Contact Park Region Telephone, Valley Telephone, Rothsay Telephone or Otter Tail Telcom or download an application at the Department of Commerce. One application may be used to apply for both TAP and Lifeline. Return the application and proof of eligibility to us. It can take up to two months for discounts to appear on your bill. You must pay the phone bill until that time. Discounts cannot be applied to past due bills.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) regulates the TAP/Lifeline programs. If you have questions regarding these programs, contact the MPUC at 651.296.0406 or 1.800.657.3782.