The Pryor Times

Local News

February 3, 2009

Low-cost phone program available

Discounted telephone service may be available to some SST-area consumers whose budgets are feeling the strain of challenging economic times. Lifeline and LinkUp are federal and state programs designed to assist certain low-income residents living on former tribal land. SST’s Lifeline and LinkUp customers save about $17 a month on local telephone service and $14 on first-time new service installation fees.

“These programs are designed to ensure all Americans have access to affordable telephone service,” said Debbie Ailey, SST co-comptroller. “In the current economic climate, it’s worth your while to look at the guidelines. You can save money on your telephone bill if you qualify for these programs.”

The Lifeline credit applies to basic service only and reduces the monthly cost to about $1 plus required regulatory fees and taxes. LinkUp America helps first-time qualified customers connect to the national telephone network and reduces installation costs to $14, a 50 percent reduction of the normal $28 installation fee. There is no discount for extra features such as call waiting. Federal universal service fees paid by telephone customers nationwide help pay for these programs.

To qualify, SST customers must participate in at least one of the following programs: Food stamps, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Vocational rehabilitation including aid to the hearing impaired, Federal public housing assistance, Low-income Energy Assistance Program, Oklahoma sales tax relief, Head Start (income-qualified customers only), National School Lunch Program (free lunch program only), Bureau of Indian Affairs General, Assistance, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Tribal TANF.

For assistance call SST at(800)722-3450. Guidelines and application forms are available on SST’s Web site, www.sstelco.com. Additional information can be found at www.lifeline.gov/lifeline_Consumers.html.

 

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