Telephone Assistance Programs
If you think you can’t afford telephone service, help is available. The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Lifeline program can help income-eligible consumers by providing discounts on basic monthly telephone service at their primary residence.
Lifeline is available for one telephone line per eligible household. A household is everyone (including children and people who are not related to you) who lives in your home and shares income and household expenses.
The Telephone Assistance Plan (TAP) is a state – funded program, which, like Lifeline, is also intended to promote universal service goals. TAP shares the same eligibility requirements with Lifeline.
What Benefits are available under the Lifeline Program?
Lifeline Assistance and TAP provide discounts on basic monthly service at the primary residence for qualified telephone subscribers. In addition, the Lifeline credits maybe used to reduce the price of broadband internet service in addition to reducing the price of landline service, but TAP credits may only be used to reduce the price of landline service.
You may be eligible for Lifeline if:
- you, or someone in your household, participates in one of the following federal assistance programs:
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps
- Medicaid / Medical Assistance
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Veterans Pension or Survivors Pension
- your household income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
- You may also be eligible for Lifeline if:
- you reside on Tribal lands (any federally recognized Indian tribe’s reservation, Pueblo, or Colony including former reservations in Oklahoma, Alaska Native regions, Hawaiian Home Lands, and Indian Allotments) and you participate in any of the above federal assistance programs; or
- you, or someone in your household, participates in one of the following assistance programs:
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Tribally Administered Head Start (only households meeting the income qualifying standard)
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
The Minnesota Telephone Assistance Plan (TAP) may provide eligible persons with a monthly credit on their phone bills. The eligibility requirements for TAP are the same as the eligibility requirements for the Lifeline program.
To apply for Lifeline and TAP:
- Contact Barnesville Municipal Telephone at (218) 354-2292 for an application or,
- Click here for the Lifeline /TAP application and the Lifeline Program Household Worksheet – Print both the application and the worksheet, fill out both and return it along with the required income documentation to Barnesville Municipal Telephone at: 102 Front Street North, Barnesville MN 56514
- Lifeline credits maybe used to reduce the price of broadband internet service in addition to reducing the price of landline service, but TAP credits may only be used to reduce the price of landline service. If you receive Lifeline benefits from a wireless carrier or some other local carrier other than Barnesville Municipal Telephone and that local carrier is not authorized to provide Lifeline, you may still be eligible for TAP credits. Click for the TAP - only application.
- Having trouble paying for phone or internet service? You may qualify for the Telephone Assistance Plan or for the federal Lifeline credit. Program eligibility is based on income. TAP is limited to landline home service. Contact us at 218-354-2292 or visit https://mn.gov/puc/consumers/telephone/assistance-plans/ for information or an application.
The National Do Not Call Registry gives you a choice about whether to receive telemarketing calls at home. Most telemarketers should not call your number once it has been on the registry for 31 days. If they do, you can file a complaint at this website: Do Not Call Registry.
You can register your home or mobile phone for free. The federal government created the National Do-Not-Call Registry to make it easier and more efficient for you to stop getting sales calls you don’t want. You can register on line or by calling 1-888-382-1222 (TYY 1-866-290-4236) from the number you wish to register. Registration is free and your number will stay in the registry until it is disconnected, or until you delete it from the registry.
Minnesota consumers who do not want to be contacted by telemarketers may register their phone numbers on a No-Call List. To sign up for the free service, call the Minnesota Department of Commerce at 1-800-657-3602- or click here. Consumers who sign up for this Minnesota list do not need to re-register for the National Do-Not-Call Registry as the information will be shared with the National Registry