California LifeLine Program


California’s LifeLine program was established in 1994 as the Moore Universal Telephone Service Act (PU Code §§ 871–884). The program provides discounted wireline or wireless service for low-income households. To qualify for the program, a customer’s household income must be below 1.5 times the federal poverty level.

To determine if you qualify, please visit the California LifeLine webpage. The discount amount per household is up to $12.65 per month. Eligible customers can also receive an additional discount of up to $9.25 from the Federal LifeLine program.  

The California LifeLine Program is funded via a surcharge assessed on revenues collected from customers of intrastate voice telecommunications services. This surcharge is not assessed on revenues collected from customers of broadband or high speed Internet access services.  


The CPUC proceedings below address recent updates to the LifeLine programs, as well as considers future modifications programs that may be necessary. 


 2016 Initiatives to Streamline Program  

The CPUC is considering whether additional modifications to the California LifeLine program are necessary, including those that would allow it to work in conjunction with the new federal Lifeline program, which will only subsidize broadband as of 2021. 


Modifications to Include Wireless and Voiceover Internet Protocol (VoIP)   

In 2014 the CPUC updated its rules to allow customers to choose their telephone technology preferences as part of the LifeLine program.