Government Program Offers Phone Service To Low-Income Residents

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NEWARK – In an emergency, who can afford not to have a telephone?  Staying connected to local resources and emergency services can improve and possibly save many lives, say state regulators.

Two programs can provide assistance to low-income telephone customers. “Link-Up” offers a reduction in installation fees for families who cannot afford to pay for a new phone service connection. “Lifeline” is a program for a reduction in the monthly fees for telephone service.

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New Jersey’s enrollment in Lifeline is automatic for more than 100,000 low-income residents who are already enrolled in social service programs such as SSI, Medicaid, PAAD, LIHEAP/HEAP, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families/Work First New Jersey (TANF), Food Stamp Program and others.

“It is critical for every household to have telephone access to emergency services, even in these financially difficult times,” said NJBPU President Jeanne M. Fox.  “These programs help New Jersey’s households maintain a link to the world through their telephone.”

Under the federal Lifeline program, telephone customers who participate in or are eligible for certain public assistance programs are entitled to receive a basic telephone service discount of at least $10 per month. Link-Up provides a 50 percent reduction in the telephone service installation charge, up to a maximum of $30 for qualifying households that do not currently have telephone service. Currently, more than 100,000 Lifeline Customers receive a benefit, averaging $195 per household, annually.

For eligibility and enrollment information, call NJ SHARES at 1-888-337-3339 or visit www.njshares.org.


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