FCC Streamlines Lifeline Application Process for Tribal Consumers During COVID-19

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The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC or Commission) Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB or Bureau) has issued a temporary waiver allowing carriers to begin providing Lifeline service to consumers living on rural Tribal lands before those consumers have submitted necessary documentation to certify their eligibility for the program. Under the FCC’s rules, if a Lifeline applicant fails the automated eligibility check, they must confirm their qualification by providing supporting documentation before receiving Lifeline service. This waiver, effective until August 31, 2020, allows carriers to immediately provide Lifeline services to customers on Tribal lands who apply for the program. Consumers will have 45 days, from the time of the application, to submit the necessary documentation and carriers will be reimbursed for the Lifeline services provided during the application process when the consumer has received a positive eligibility determination. The Bureau also extends its recent Lifeline waivers of the program’s recertification, reverification, general de-enrollment, usage, and income documentation requirements through August 31, 2020.

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