Friday, March 1, 2024

What Is the Difference Between ACP and Lifeline?

The Lifeline Program was established in 1984 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help low-income individuals receive affordable access to phones and other essential communications services. 

Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) was launched in 2021 intended to offer extra assistance, specifically targeting the enhanced affordability of broadband for specific low-income households.

ACP and Lifeline aim to make communication services more affordable for low-income households.

What Does Lifeline Offer?

US Capitol building with waving American flag to illustrate free government programs available to low-income households.

The program offers qualifying consumers a discounted rate on their monthly service bill of up to $9.25 per month, or up to $34.25 per month for those living on Tribal lands. 

These Lifeline discounts cover phone, internet, and bundled wireless broadband service packages for low-income Americans nationwide.

The Lifeline Program is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC), which is responsible for determining consumers’ eligibility, managing the Lifeline Support Center, and recertifying beneficiaries annually per the FCC’s regulations. 

What Does ACP Offer?

Another FCC benefit program for financial phone assistance is the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which provides low-income households with monthly discounts on broadband and mobile services. 

The program allows eligible households to save up to $30 per month on their internet service, and those living on Tribal lands can save up to $75 per month. 

Additionally, consumers can receive a discount of up to $100. As of May 2023, the FCC stated that over 17 million households now benefit from the ACP, saving eligible consumers hundreds of millions of dollars every month.

Happy family sitting on the sofa using internet devices and smartphones thanks to Q Link Wireless's Free phone service, Lifeline, and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

How Do You Apply for Lifeline?  

Eligible customers can receive the benefits from both programs at the same time and apply them to the same or separate services. 

For example, you can apply both your Lifeline benefit and ACP discounts to a single wireless broadband service provided by the same participating company or choose to use your benefits with two different providers.

Close-up image of a person applying for Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) using their smartphone.

How Do You Qualify for Lifeline Benefits?

You may already qualify for Lifeline if your income is 135% or less than the Federal Poverty Guidelines. If you receive any of the following government assistance, you can also qualify for Lifeline. 

  • SNAP or Food stamps
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Veteran’s Pension or Survivors Benefit
  • Tribal specific programs 

Beneficiaries of Lifeline Tribal Benefits may even qualify for additional Lifeline support through the Enhanced Tribal Benefit and Link-Up programs. Keep in mind the Lifeline benefit program is limited to “one per household.”

If you want to get the most out of your Lifeline, we recommend you sign up with Q Link Wireless, one of America’s fastest-growing providers of the Lifeline phone program

How Do You Qualify for the ACP?

Happy man and woman using a laptop and tablet at a table to apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) and Lifeline government benefit program.

Like Lifeline, qualifying for the ACP is based on your household income and/or if you or your child/dependent are enrolled in federal assistance programs like SNAP, FREE school lunch, Medicaid, SSI, or others. 

If you already receive a Lifeline discount, you automatically qualify!

If you want to get the most out of your Lifeline and ACP benefits, we recommend you sign up with Q Link Wireless, one of America’s fastest-growing providers of the Lifeline phone program.

Apply Today for Your Lifeline and ACP Benefits

The Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Assistance programs exist to help low-income Americans stay connected to the world around them.

So don’t wait!

Apply today, spread the word, and start saving on your phone and internet services. 

You’ll be glad you learned about Lifeline and the ACP. 

Once you’re approved, don’t forget to sign up with Q Link Wireless and put your discounts to work!

If you want to get the most out of your Lifeline and ACP benefits, we recommend you sign up with Q Link Wireless, one of America’s fastest-growing providers of the Lifeline phone program


1. 2022 Participation rate is derived from data in the 2021 American Community Survey (ACS), U.S. Census Bureau. The “TOTAL” Lifeline participation rate shows the average across all states. See  

*Tribal lands include any federally recognized Indian tribe’s reservation, Pueblo, or colony, including former reservations in Oklahoma; Alaska Native regions established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (85 Stat. 688); Indian allotments; Hawaiian Home Lands— areas held in trust for Native Hawaiians by the state of Hawaii, pursuant to the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920 July 9, 1921, 42 Stat. 108, et. seq., as amended; and any land designated as such by the FCC pursuant to the designation process in the FCC’s Lifeline rules. A map of qualifying Tribal lands is available) on USAC’s website:  

Melissa Halle
Melissa Halle
Melissa Halle is a passionate writer and dedicated advocate for accessible communication and financial empowerment. With a decade of experience, her mission is to help individuals and families get FREE cell phone service while providing information on additional government benefits.

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