Help available for needy to get phones

Dear Editor,

During these tough economic times it is important that people who need help are aware of all the resources available to them. September 14-20 has been declared Lifeline Awareness week. Lifeline is a program that provides a discount on basic phone service to consumers struggling to get by.

Let’s face it, having access to a phone is almost a necessity these days, and this program helps to make sure that everyone has phone service.

If you participate in Medicaid, SSI, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or a similar program, you may qualify for Lifeline. To find out, call your phone company or the Public Service Commission at 1-800-392-8050.

Because of a bill that passed this year in the state legislature, The Communications Modernization and Lifeline Improvement Act, the Public Service Commission has been given authority under Alabama law to make the program available to even more people who may need help but don’t participate in one of the qualifying programs.

We need to thank Sens. Jabo Waggoner, Hank Erwin Jr., and Steve French, plus Reps. Greg Canfield, Mike Hill, Mary Sue McClurkin and Cam Ward for their leadership in helping pass this critical legislation.

Also, the Public Service Commission and its staff deserve recognition for working to expand Lifeline to cover more people.

We hope that by raising awareness during this week that more people who need help can get connected. Remember, if you, or someone you know needs help, just call the phone company or the Alabama Public Service Commission.