1. What is Lifeline?
    • Lifeline is a program that provides discount phone services for qualifying low-income consumers. The purpose of Lifeline is to empower the most vulnerable of Illinois' citizens by linking them to telephones (either cellular or wired) thereby enabling them to obtain gainful employment to further their economic stability as well as providing access to 911 and other crucial emergency services.
  2. What is the Lifeline Eligibility Verification System (LEVS)?
    • The Lifeline Eligibility Verification System is a data system used to verify receipt of certain public assistance, which eligible telecommunication carriers (ETCs) can use to establish eligibility for Lifeline.
  3. What is the purpose of Lifeline Eligibility Verification System?
    • Pursuant to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Rule and Order Number FCC 12-11 (Rule), ETCs must verify Lifeline eligibility. To accomplish this, ETCs may initiate a verification inquiry of DHS public assistance recipient data to determine if the applicant or participant is receiving certain public assistance benefits. Although an individual may be eligible for Lifeline based on several criteria, the ETC initiated inquiry verifies receipt of the following subset of those public assistance programs: Medicaid; Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). To use the system, applicants and participants must authorize the Vendor to verify receipt of benefits.
  4. How does a telecommunication carrier become eligible to use the LEVS system?
    • Telecommunication carriers must be granted an eligible status through the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC). Once granted eligible status, the ETC may enroll.
  5. Is an ETC required to use the LEVS?
    • No. The use of LEVS is Optional. An ETC may continue to use its current practice regarding verification or may use LEVS.
  6. How does an ETC enroll?
    • An ETC must complete and submit a Data Sharing and Fee Agreement along with a User Information Request Form to begin the enrollment process. ETCs will be enrolled once the agreement has been fully executed.
  7. How will users be notified of registration?
    • Users receive an automated notification upon registration at the email address provided on the User Information Request Form.
  8. How many users are allowed per ETC?
    • At this time, there is no limit to the number of system users for each ETC, but each user must have their job title listed in the Data Sharing and Fee Agreement.
  9. How does an ETC user access LEVS?
    • Login instructions are provided in the email notification sent to each registered user, which includes information regarding the User I.D., password and the LEVS site address.
  10. When is an ETC required to begin using the system?
    • There is no set time to begin using the system. An ETC may begin using the system at any point after user logon access is granted.
  11. Is recertification necessary using the new system?
    • No, recertification is not necessary.
  12. Does LEVS cover anything beyond recipients of Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps) and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)?
    • LEVS verifies receipt of the benefits identified above. One may qualify for Lifeline benefits through other means. Visit the ICC website for additional information.
  13. Is there a fee to use the system and how much is it?
    • Low volume users will not be charged for the service. ETCs making over 1,000 inquiries per year will be charged $1,200 annually. Duplicate inquiries for the same applicant will count as a separate inquiry.
  14. When will the ETC be billed?
    • Invoices are sent to each ETC 30 days after DHS determines that ETC's annual usage.
  15. What is the fee due date?
    • The ETC must pay the invoice for Lifeline verification services received from DHS within 30 days of the invoice date.
  16. What are the forms of payment?
    • Checks or money orders made payable to DHS are the only acceptable forms.
  17. Will DHS accept ACH?
    • No, DHS cannot accept electronic payments at this time.
  18. Are ETCs required to maintain both the application and the consent form?
    • Both DHS and ETCs shall maintain, for a minimum of five (5) years from the termination of the agreement, adequate books, records and supporting documents to verify the use of data provided by DHS.