The Utility Reform Network
Home Consumer Tools Telecom Tips LifeLine Telephone Service

California LifeLine Telephone Service

Find out if you qualify for reduced-rate basic phone service

California LifeLine program, formerly Universal LifeLine Telephone Service (ULTS), was established by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to provide discounted basic residential (landline) phone services to low-income households.

Consumers can sign up for the program through an Income or Program based eligibility process. People who enroll through an income-based process must show proof of income or be enrolled in one or more of the eligible public assistance programs.

Read below for more information and guidelines for LifeLine telephone service and sign up for more information from TURN:

Income-Based
You can qualify for California LifeLine if the total household income is at or less than the California LifeLine income minimums:

Household Size

California LifeLine Annual Income Limits
(6/1/09 through 5/31/12

1-2

$24,000

3

$28,000

4

$34,000

Each Additional Member

Add $5,800

Program-Based
You can qualify for California LifeLine if you or another person in your household is enrolled in any one of the following public-assistance programs:

Medicaid/Medi-Cal

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Federal Public Housing Assistance or Section B

Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Healthy Families Category A

National School Lunch’s FREE Lunch Program (NSL)

Tribal TANF

Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance

Women, Infant and Chidren Program (WIC)

Head Start Income Eligible (Tribal Only)

    More About Income Qualifications
    In order to qualify for California LifeLine based on household income, you will need to provide documents proving that your total household income is at or below the income maximum for your household size. Income documents include:

  • Prior year’s state, federal, or tribal tax return
  • Income statements or paycheck stubs for three consecutive months within the calendar year
  • Statement of benefits from Social Security, Veterans Administration, retirement/pension, unemployment compensation, and/or workmen’s compensation
  • Divorce decree
  • Child support document
  • Other official documents

Contract your phone service provider to request a LifeLine service. You will need to complete and return the California LifeLine Certification Form mailed to you in a pink envelope by the due date indicated on the form.

Recent Changes
Because of the recent changes in the administration of the program, many people have fallen off the system or are finding it very hard to qualify.

If I am disqualified, can I complain? Where do I go with complaints related to LifeLine?

Contact The Utility Reform Network at:
1-800-355-TURN (8876)

Or you can file a written complaint with the CPUC:
Consumer Affairs Branch
505 Van Ness Ave
San Francisco, CA 94102

Be sure to include the following information:

  • The name of the person the account is billed under
  • Mailing address and phone number
  • Name of the company you are complaining about
  • Address and telephone number of the company (if applicable)
  • The name of the company’s representative you contacted (if applicable)
  • Your utility account number (if applicable)
  • A brief description of the complaint (please limit your complaint to two pages or less)

You may also file a complaint online.

California LifeLine Website



Share Article: