- The New York State Public Service Commission, along with the New York State Consumer Protection Board and the New York State Office for the Aging, joined forces to promote programs that provide eligible New Yorkers with discounts for their primary residential or wireless telephone service.
As part of the effort, Governor David A. Paterson
joined states across the nation in proclaiming September 12 through September 18 "Lifeline Awareness Week" to encourage enrollment in the Link-Up and Lifeline programs.
"In these recessionary times, it is important for financially struggling consumers to be aware and take full advantage of the Link-Up and Lifeline discount programs that make basic telephone service more affordable," said New York State Public Service Commission Chairman Garry Brown. "Lifeline Awareness Week highlights the availability of discounted telephone services that can provide a lifeline to emergency help and a vital link to government services, community resources, friends and family. I hope that through Lifeline Awareness Week, more eligible New Yorkers will take advantage of these valuable programs."
Mindy A. Bockstein, Chair and Executive Director of the New York State Consumer Protection Board, said: "Residential telephone service, through either a landline or a wireless phone, provides consumers with vital access to emergency services and a necessary means of communicating with medical providers, schools, family members and friends. Lifeline Awareness Week is a wonderful opportunity to empower consumers with important information about this cost-saving program especially during these difficult economic times."
Michael J. Burgess
, Director of the New York State Office for the Aging, said: "It is critically important for the elderly to maintain telephone services in order to remain safely in their homes and communities of choice. I urge any older New Yorker that does not have phone service or is in jeopardy of losing it because of financial circumstances to contact the Link-Up or Lifeline program. Doing so can save lives."
Under the Lifeline program, eligible landline customers receive a waiver of the federal subscriber line charge, a savings of at least $75 annually, and discounted monthly bills for basic local telephone service. The total discount varies depending on the local telephone service provider and the program includes some wireless and cellular service providers. The Link-Up program reduces the initial telephone connection charge by up to 50 percent, but not to exceed $30, for basic local service.
New Yorkers participating or eligible to participate in the following programs, may also be eligible for the Link-Up and Lifeline program discounts for basic residential telephone service:
• Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
• Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)
• Food Stamps
• Veterans' Disability or Surviving Spouse Pension
• Family Assistance
• Safety Net Assistance Programs.
For more information about the Line-Up and Lifeline Programs and for application forms, go to www.AskPSC consumer website. Lifeline information may also be obtained on the Consumer Protection Board's website at www.nyconsumer.gov, or from the Federal government's official Lifeline website at www.lifeline.gov.