Bera Dunau Staff Writer
The Daily Star
---- — The Lifeline federal public assistance program is now available for some local low-income customers of Time Warner Cable.
“Lifeline allows consumers the opportunity to get a monthly discount, so that they can access and experience Time Warner Cable’s home phone services and features,” said Jeff Lindsay, Time Warner Cable’s group vice president and general manager for phone in a statement released to the news media.
On Tuesday, New York Time Warner customers became eligible to apply for the discount. Time Warner is offering Lifeline in New York as a pilot program, and says it plans to make it available in all other markets at a later time.
“We’ve been really focused on enhancing our home phone service, but we also want to make sure that it’s as affordable as possible for our customers,” said Time Warner Cable Public Relations Manager Joli Plucknette-Farmen on Tuesday. “We felt it was right to introduce the Lifeline credit now.”
Time Warner joins several New York phone service providers in offering the Lifeline credit. Lifeline is a federal program put into place in 1985. It gives a discount to low-income individuals on their phone bills. In a series of actions between 2005 and 2008 the program was expanded to include prepaid wireless plans.
No more than one person per household may receive a lifeline discount at a time. Participants can receive a discount on a hardline or wireless plan, but not both. The federal subsidy is $9.25 per month, but in New York the subsidy is $12.25 per month, because of additional state support.
A total of 16,126,760 subscribers were enrolled in Lifeline nationally at the end of 2012. In New York, 1,263,273 participated in the Lifeline program.
To be eligible for Lifeline, consumers must participate in a public-assistance program, such as SNAP (formerly food stamps) or Medicaid, or have an income no greater than 135 percent of federal poverty guidelines. Those wishing to participate can apply through a phone company. A list of Lifeline providers, as well as additional information, can be found at www.lifelinesupport.org.