In response to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is taking action to ensure Lifeline participants continue to have access to communications services during this critical time. The FCC noted in its COVID-19 Order that there has been a dramatic disruption in American’s lives that discourage person-to-person contact, forcing consumers to turn to telemedicine, telework, online learning, and overall social distancing.
The FCC stated that they believed that the coronavirus pandemic and community efforts to slow its spread makes requiring Lifeline subscribers to recertify and reverify an unreasonable burden at this time. The FCC went on to adjust the launch date of its Representative Accountability Database 60 days beyond its initial launch date of March 26th, 2020. They believe this will allow ETCs and Lifeline Providers to prioritize assisting eligible consumers to get connected and stay connected to voice and broadband services during this unprecedented time of need.
In the COVID-19 Order, the FCC announced 3 temporary changes to the Lifeline program:
Recertification – Waived 60 Days
Effective March 17th, 2020, recertification is on hold for the anniversary dates between April 14th, 2020 and August 14th, 2020. Subscribers with these anniversary dates will receive a new notice from USAC to recertify their eligibility after the waiver period ends on May 18th, 2020.
Recertification will remain as planned for subscribers with anniversary dates outside the window listed above.
Reverification – Waived 60 Days
All new reverification activity is on hold for 60 days from today through May 18th, 2020.
USAC will not conduct any de-enrollments for subscribers with documentation deadlines falling on or before May 18th, 2020. Any impacted subscribers will receive a new opportunity to provide necessary eligibility documentation after the end of the waiver period.
USAC will not open any new reverification documentation requests until after Monday, May 18th, 2020.
Beginning Tuesday, May 19, 2020, USAC will continue reverification activities as normal.
Representative Accountability Database – Delayed Implementation
To reduce the burden on Lifeline providers, full implementation of the Representative Accountability Database (RAD) will be delayed until Monday, May 25th, 2020.
When launched, RAD will function as communicated prior to this waiver. Please continue to encourage your enrollment representatives to register for a Representative ID and link IDs to the respective NLAD sub-accounts, API IDs, and/or SPINs as batch users. RAD will be mandatory on Monday, May 25, 2020.
The FCC and USAC made additional statements that noted they are working hard to make sure the Lifeline Support Team functions as normally as possible, but they continue to monitor the situation.
The full detail of the FCC Order can be found here: https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-20-285A1.pdf
For questions about the Lifeline Program, call (800)-234-9473 or email [email protected]