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Telephone Service Discount Programs

Paul Bunyan Communications is authorized to provide one federally-funded and one state-funded telephone service discount program that are designed to promote universal service by providing low-income individuals with new telephone service installations and monthly telephone service discounts.  

The federal Lifeline and state Telephone Assistance Plan programs provide a monthly discount on your local telephone service.

What do the programs provide?

LifeLine provides eligible subscribers with a monthly credit on the basic local service portion of their telephone bill. The credit applies on the main home telephone number listed in the name of the eligible telephone company subscriber. LifeLine subscribers also may receive free blocking of long distance calling on their telephone line. Additional benefits are available to persons living on Tribal Lands/reservations.

Telephone Assistance Plan (TAP) program provides an additional monthly credit for LifeLine subscribers.

Who is eligible?

Telephone service must be in your name and you must participate in at least one of the following public assistance programs or have income at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines to be eligible:

  • Medicaid/Medical Assistance
  • Food Support (food stamps)
  • Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Housing Assistance or Section 8 Assistance
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP)
  • National School Lunch Program's free lunch program

Additional qualifying programs for persons living on a reservation:

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Tribally administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Head Start (only those meeting its income qualifying standard)
  • National School Lunch Program's free lunch program

If you do not participate in any of the above programs, you may still qualify if you prove your income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty income guidelines.

Attach any one of the following documents to your application to prove your income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty income guidelines.

  • Last year's State, Federal or Tribal Tax Return
  • Current annual income statement from employer
  • Three consecutive months of most recent paycheck stubs
  • Veterans Administration Benefits Statement
  • Unemployment/Workmen's Compensation Statement
  • Social Security Benefits Statement
  • Retirement/Pension Benefits Statement
  • Divorce Decree
  • Child Support Document
  • Other

How do I apply?

Call NECA at 1-888-627-4255.

They will do the verification process with you over the phone and can provide you with an application.

Could I become ineligible?

When you no longer participate in any of the qualifying programs listed above, you are no longer eligible for LifeLine or TAP. You are obligated by law to notify the telephone company and advise the company that you are no longer eligible for LifeLine or TAP.

For more information

If you have questions about these discount programs or the application process, contact our offices or NECA (888-627-4255).