September 12-18 is National Lifeline Awareness Week

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SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 12, 2011 — Staying connected to local resources and emergency services is vital to California's low-income and elderly residents and can even help save lives. Consumer Action has joined with AT&T* California to promote the state's California LifeLine Program during "National Lifeline Awareness Week," September 12-18.

The purpose of National Lifeline Awareness Week is to ensure that eligible low-income consumers are aware of the Lifeline program in their state and able to obtain affordable telephone service through the assistance of this program. Public Utilities Commissions and service providers in states across the U.S. are working to get the word out on this important program.

"The California LifeLine Program is the best in the country. The discounts are great and no other state comes close to the number of consumers that benefit," said Ken McEldowney, executive director of Consumer Action. "About 1.7 million households currently receive the California LifeLine discounts, yet thousands of eligible households aren't on the program."

Under the California LifeLine Program, qualifying consumers receive discounted local telephone service. All California telephone companies that provide traditional wired residential service offer discounts under the California LifeLine Program. Additionally, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is working to include other alternative technologies such as wireless telephones in the California LifeLine Program. As more and more consumers struggle to pay their bills in today's tough economy, it's more important than ever for everyone to be aware of this program so they can stay connected.

The California LifeLine Program, administered by service providers and sponsored by the CPUC, provides low-income Californians with discounted home phone service they can rely on. Millions of Californians already take advantage of the California LifeLine Program.

Rules established by the CPUC allow customers to qualify for California LifeLine in one of two ways:

  • By participating in an approved public assistance program such as: Medicaid/Medi-Cal, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or CalFresh, formerly known as Food Stamps.
  • By meeting certain household income limits.

To help provide consumers with detailed information on the program and how to apply, Consumer Action in partnership with AT&T has launched a multi-phase consumer outreach initiative.

The first phase is making a new California Lifeline guide, which will be available from Consumer Action this fall. Consumers can request the publication by sending a stamped self-addressed, legal-sized envelope to Consumer Action, 221 Main St., Suite 480, San Francisco, CA 94105. The guide will be available in Chinese, English, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese. In your request, please indicate the language you want.

The second phase set for later this year is providing in-depth "train the trainer" sessions for community-based organizations so they can educate their clients about the California LifeLine program.

Consumers can also contact their service provider directly and ask about the program.

General information on the California LifeLine Program can be found on www.californialifeline.com.

About Consumer Action

Consumer Action is a San Francisco-based national education and advocacy organization founded in 1971.  Its multilingual educational programs reach consumers through Consumer Action's national network of more than 11,000 community based contacts—with more than 3,500 located in California—and on the group's website (www.consumer-action.org).  The non-profit organization also has offices in Los Angeles and Washington, DC. Consumer Action can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/consumeraction and on Twitter @consumeraction.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

 

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