Learn about the new FCC Emergency Broadband Benefit Program >

Lifeline Program

Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is an FCC program to help households struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic. This new benefit will connect eligible households to jobs, critical healthcare services, and virtual classrooms.

What are the benefits?

The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on Tribal lands. There is a connected device portion to the EBB Program that NDTC is not participating in.

Who is eligible?

A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria.

  • Qualifies for the Lifeline program
  • Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, or did so in the 2019-2020 school year
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount per eligible household. Current households who receive Lifeline will need to Opt-in to the EBB Program.

How long is the benefit available?

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is temporary. It will expire when funds are exhausted or six months after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declares the end of the COVID-19 health emergency. At the end of the program, consumers will need to opt-in to continue their service without the EBB program benefit or services will be disconnected.

Where do I apply?

The EBB Program is open to applicants May 12, 2021. Consumers looking for additional information, or to apply for the Emergency Broadband Benefit, should visit: GetEmergencyBroadband.org


Lifeline is a non-transferable government benefit program that provides monthly discounts on one telephone service (landline or wireless) or eligible broadband service for qualified low-income consumers in every state, territory, and commonwealth, and on Tribal lands. You must be eligible to enroll, and you must recertify your eligibility every year. Federal rules prohibit eligible consumers from receiving more than one Lifeline service per household.

Am I Eligible?

An individual may be eligible for the program-supported service if he or she has a household income at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, or if they receive benefits from one of the following qualifying programs:

  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit Program
  • Medicaid

Consumers residing on Tribal lands may be eligible for program-supported service if their household income is at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, if they participate in one of the five federal programs listed in the left column, or in one of the following programs:

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) General Assistance
  • Tribal-administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
  • Tribal Head Start (only those households meeting income qualifying standard)
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)

How To Apply

Consumers must apply for lifeline support through the National Verifier (NV). The NV is a centralized system that determines whether subscribers are eligible for lifeline. The NV is managed by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC).

Consumers can apply through the NV at checklifeline.org or can submit a paper application along with supporting documentation to the lifeline support center. The mailing address for the support center is provided on the application.

NDTC is no longer able to accept forms or documentation to determine eligibility for the lifeline program. NDTC does have resources available at our office for consumers to access the NV Online.

Once a customer is accepted in the NV, they will need to contact NDTC to be enrolled in the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD) and credits will then be applied to their service.

For More Information

More information about eligibility and how to apply for benefits is available with the Universal Service Administrative Company. You may also call the Federal Communications Commission at 1-888-225-5322 or NDTC at 662-1100. North Dakota Telephone Company’s telephone service and broadband internet services are Lifeline and Link Up supported services.

Link Up

Link Up reduces the cost of initiating new service to eligible residents of Tribal lands at the subscriber’s principal place of residence. Consumers can receive a 100% discount off of the one-time costs of initiating service. Link Up is a one-time benefit per address; subscribers can request Link Up once for each change of address. Broadband data only service is not eligible for Link Up assistance.

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