About two million applications for telephone
assistance are being sent home with Florida public school children to reach Floridians who need
help acquiring telephone service or paying the monthly phone bill.
The applications will be included in each student’s
back-to-school packet for his or her family. Applications are provided in
English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole (Dade County only). The application is for enrollment in the
Link-Up Florida and Lifeline Assistance programs. Link-Up Florida provides a
50% reduction in the telephone service hook-up charge, up to a maximum of $30. The
Lifeline Assistance program provides up to a $13.50 credit on qualified
residential local monthly phone bills.
Consumers are eligible for savings on their monthly
phone bill if they participate in any of the following programs: Medicaid, Food
Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security
Income (SSI), Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8), Low-Income Home
Energy Assistance (LIHEAP), and National School Lunch Program – Free Lunch
(BellSouth, Embarq, and Verizon customers only). If the consumer’s household
income is low, he or she may qualify for assistance by contacting the Office of
Public Counsel at 1-800-540-7039.
This effort is co-sponsored by the Florida Public
Service Commission (PSC), the Office of Public Counsel and Florida's
telephone companies. The telecommunications companies participating in the effort
are BellSouth, Embarq, Verizon, TDS Telecom, Windstream (formerly known as ALLTEL),
NEFCOM, GT Com, ITS Telecommunications Systems, Smart City Telecommunications,
and Frontier Communications.
Parents and consumers can learn more about Link-Up
Florida and Lifeline Assistance by calling their local telephone companies, the
Office of Public Counsel at 1-800-540-7039,
or the PSC at 1-800-342-3552. Application forms may also be accessed via the PSC's Web
site at www.floridapsc.com.