I spoke with my provider, AT&T, on another subject today, and learned something very useful in process. Because I am low-income enough to qualify for food stamps, I qualify for AT&T's Lifeline discount. The representative told me we'll receive a certification application via snail-mail. Once that's filled out and returned, we'll officially start receiving a monthly discount.
If AT&T offers this, I'm confident all or most telephone providers do so. It's not quite 10% of our total bill, but hey, these days especially, every penny counts!
Source: AT&T Lifeline Representative
By JustPlainJo from Springfield, OH
Really good tip, Jo! And you certainly are an upstanding human being to include further information with a caution of something you found out after the fact in the comment section here and that alone deserves a huge thumbs up! So many people in this day and age would not have bothered!
The thing that people who need a financial break need to keep in mind is to always ask and even if the answer is no, well, the old adage, "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." ;-)
When I first signed up with my cable company for the 'bundle' (phone, internet and cable TV) package it was half the normal rate for one year for being a new customer. About a year later I became disabled and there was no way I could pay the full price anymore so I called them and told them what was happening. They now keep me at that same original rate and all I have to do is call a month before the year is up, they make the computer adjustments upon approval (while I am still on the line) and I am good to go at the same rate for another year. The only costs that do increase are the taxes.
Deeli, I wish I'd thought to ask A T & T about a discount like yours when I signed on with them almost four years ago! I wish I could give your comment a "thumbs up." A cyber-hug will have to do. Thanks, friend.
You don't have to be on food stamps to qualify although this does heip. Just have to fall in the low income or poverty bracket as it is called. This depends on how many people you have in your family and how much income you receive all together. This does work on scale. More people higher scale. Have to call to get the paper work or on line and it will list the income bracket to qualify. I do know that you can fill out the paper work on line also.
I teach crafts to ceramics and knew of this. You should also check with your electric company. I know ours here gives a discount to senior citizens or those who are low-income. You can only get one, so see which is the better deal. If you're low-income you have to show proof and if your a senior citizen you have to show proof. They will let you know what paper you need to send in. If you go with the senior citizen discount, be sure to ask if they do a retroactive back to when you became a senior citizen, ours does!
(Our gas company doesn't do anything, but yours might, so check with them too!)
I learned one caveat a few days after my conversation with A T & T: Only one type of telephone assistance is permitted per household. Since we're already enrolled in the SafeLink cell phone program - and neither want nor can afford to buy a cell phone in order to switch to A T & T's cell phone program for low-income people - we won't be getting this discount. It's a good thing to keep track of what programs you're enrolled in so you don't accidentally "double-dip."
Grandma2Speedy, thanks for the info. It never occurred to me to ask about an elderly discount from either gas or electric, since we've been on the percentage of income (PIPP) just about forever. Since hubby is well over 70, we do qualify for a steep discount on our house taxes; it's called the Homestead plan in our small city. That's something else you might want to check!
Xintexas. I signed up for SafeLink online. Even with my screen reader. :D
In some cases if you have cable in your area you can bundle all services. We have phone, cable, high speed computer access for about $119 a month. Our regular phone was costing us about $80 a month. Since we needed to have a cable provider in order to receive more than a couple of channels we are really ahead of the game. Just check and get in writing the true cost, also if this is a locked in rate or subject to change. One beef i have with charter communications here in ct. Is that they failed to quote me the full true cost, plus the fact the rate was only good for one year, and I had to upgrade after a year which cost me about another $15 more a month. Still I am getting many more channels. In some areas at&t can offer bundles too. Good luck.
Hi, Elsablue. We've had our phone, DSL internet and HD satellite bundled through A T & T for almost 4 years now. Our internet cost is up to $30/month. Phone with nationwide long distance is another $50, our Dish Network Top 280 package (all the channels we can get except premium,) including local, is another $80. Steep, but I guess I can stand it. Changing providers just seems like too much bother. Besides, I'd hate to have to memorize a whole new set of channel numbers.
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