Participate in Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (food stamps or SNAP), Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8) or Head Start (if you meet income eligibility criteria)
Showing a card or award letter to prove that you or your family participate in Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (food stamps or SNAP), Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8) or other qualifying programs
How do I complain or who do I contact for extra help?
Your local company is responsible for helping you apply for Lifeline and resolving any issues with your Lifeline service. To call them, look up your company's contact information.
If you need more help or your company isn’t responding, contact USAC.
Find companies that offer Lifeline-supported service
Look up which company you are using
Help if your company refuses to help you or is unresponsive
Answer questions about how the program works
USAC cannot help you apply for Lifeline, buy more minutes, sort out your bill, replace lost or broken handsets, or get specific information about your service plan.
If you can't afford a telephone, contact your state social service agency for help finding an emergency cell phone donation program near you.
Other Phone Help for Vision and Hearing Loss
If you have a low income and have combined vision and hearing loss, the National Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program might be able to help. The program known as iCanConnect provides equipment to make telecommunications, advanced communications, and the internet accessible to you. Learn more about iCanConnect through a helpful video and transcript or call 1-800-825-4595.
A person or family participating in certain other benefit programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF or welfare), or certain needs-tested veterans benefits may be automatically eligible.
Being qualified for LIHEAP does not guarantee that you will receive help. Whether or not you receive help depends on how much LIHEAP funding is available for the year.
On average, about 20% of households that are qualified for LIHEAP receive benefits. When LIHEAP funds run out for the year, no more benefits can be given until Congress makes more funds available.
How do I apply?
Each state has different rules about when you can apply, how you apply, and the criteria you have to meet to get help.
If your income is too high to qualify for LIHEAP but you need help paying for your energy bills, your local social services agency or a nonprofit organization may have funds to help. You can also contact your gas, oil, or electric company about budget billing programs or new payment options especially for customers with disabilities who are on Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides help with paying medical costs for children of families who cannot afford health insurance or don't get it through their work. Learn more about eligibility and how to sign up for Medicaid and CHIP.
Health Insurance Through the Health Insurance Marketplace
What help is available?
HealthCare.gov helps you find insurance options, compare care, learn about preventive services, and more. If your employer does not offer insurance, you are self-employed, or you prefer to purchase your own insurance, you and your family can get health, dental, and vision insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace.
Am I eligible?
Everyone is eligible for health insurance through the Marketplace. You may also qualify for subsidies to help pay your premiums. 2019 Open Enrollment runs from November 1, 2018, to December 15, 2018. If you’ve experienced certain life changes, like loss of a job or childbirth, you may be eligible to make changes to your health insurance in a Special Enrollment Period.
Charity care programs help uninsured patients who can't afford to pay their medical bills and don't qualify for government aid. The patient services department of your local hospital can help you find out if you're eligible. Reach out to the hospital before your medical service and explain your situation. If you don't qualify, the hospital may offer you a payment plan.
Learn about your dental coverage options from local and state health programs, government insurance plans, dental schools, and dental clinical trials for people with limited incomes.
If you are uninsured or underinsured and must seek emergency medical treatment:
Under the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), you're guaranteed access to an emergency medical evaluation, even if you can't pay. The act requires hospitals that receive Medicare funding and that provide emergency services to evaluate anyone who comes to their emergency room and requests treatment. If the evaluation confirms that you have an emergency medical condition, including active labor, they are then required to provide stabilizing treatment for you regardless of your ability to pay.