DAR File No. 38545
This rule was published in the June 15, 2014, issue (Vol. 2014, No. 12) of the Utah State Bulletin.
Public Service Commission, Administration
Notice of Proposed Rule
DAR File No.: 38545
Filed: 05/20/2014 10:34:45 AM
Purpose of the rule or reason for the change:
This rule amendment is necessary to reflect changes in federal Lifeline program rules and procedures and changes to the Public Service Commission's contract with the Department of Workforce Services (DWS) for Lifeline program administration.
Summary of the rule or change:
The following is a summary of the amendments to the rule: 1) in Section R746-341-1, clarifies the applicability of the rule; 2) in Section R746-341-2, provides updated definitions to reflect changes in the telecommunications industry and federal law regarding Lifeline since the last substantive rule amendment; 3) in Section R746-341-3, provides a list of aid programs that qualify an applicant to participate in the Lifeline program. This section also provides a list of the documents a person must submit to be qualified under an income based standard. Additionally, this section outlines the duties of an applicant; 4) in Section R746-341-4, defines the duties of the program administrator reflecting current practice and anticipated improvements to procedures and capabilities; 5) in Section R746-341-5, defines the duties of the eligible telecommunications carrier (ETC) with respect to record keeping, documentation and customer interactions; 6) in Section R746-341-6, defines the Lifeline program service characteristics that must be present in a state Lifeline service offering; 7) in Section R746-341-7, clarifies that a Lifeline service offered by a federal ETC must be consistent with the federal program guidelines and relevant Public Service Commission orders and rules; 8) in Section R746-341-8, defines the required reporting requirements for state ETCs; 9) in Section R746-341-9, clarifies the funding source for the Lifeline program and allowable expenses; and 10) in Section R746-341-10; clarifies how state ETCs may be reimbursed for Lifeline benefits extended and associated expenses.
State statutory or constitutional authorization for this rule:
- Section 54-4-1
- Section 54-4-4
Anticipated cost or savings to:
the state budget:
Amending this rule will result in reduced administrative costs for the Lifeline program and a more streamlined process for removing non-qualifying participants from the Lifeline program.
The lifeline program will have no fiscal impact on local government because the program only disburses money to private companies. Local governments will not be required to collect taxes nor will they receive any payments. As such, this rule amendment will have no effect on local government.
The lifeline program will have no fiscal impact on small businesses because the program only disburses money to eligible telecommunication carriers approved by the Public Service Commission. As a result, this rule amendment will have no effect on small businesses.
persons other than small businesses, businesses, or local governmental entities:
This rule amendment will facilitate more accurate Lifeline program participant eligibility decisions.
Compliance costs for affected persons:
This rule amendment will not result in additional compliance costs for affected persons (companies) because the rule reduces the cost of participating in a program for the eligible telecommunication carriers. For customers receiving the benefit it will reduce their cost of telephone service.
Comments by the department head on the fiscal impact the rule may have on businesses:
This rule amendment will have no fiscal impact on businesses.
Ron Allen, Commission Chairman
The full text of this rule may be inspected, during regular business hours, at the Division of Administrative Rules, or at:Public Service Commission
HEBER M WELLS BLDG
160 E 300 S
SALT LAKE CITY, UT 84111-2316
Direct questions regarding this rule to:
- Sheri Bintz at the above address, by phone at 801-530-6714, by FAX at 801-530-6796, or by Internet E-mail at email@example.com
- Jordan White at the above address, by phone at 801-530-6712, by FAX at , or by Internet E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Interested persons may present their views on this rule by submitting written comments to the address above no later than 5:00 p.m. on:
This rule may become effective on:
Jordan White, Legal Counsel
R746. Public Service Commission, Administration.
that [ have been] designated as
eligible telecommunications [ carriers] by the Commission, pursuant to [ Section] 214 [ of the Federal Communications Act, shall establish a
lifeline telephone service pursuant to the requirements of Sections
2 through 10].
"Applicant" -- means [
the eligible telecommunications] customer who [ owns and resides in a residential property or rents and
resides in a residential property].
B. "Responsible Agency" -- means the state government agency that administers the certification, verification, and continued verification of Lifeline enrollment.
the] eligible telecommunications carrier.
"Federal Poverty Guidelines" -- means the poverty guidelines issued each year by the Department of Health and Human Services and published in the Federal Register.
"Income" -- means gross income, whether earned or unearned, received by all members of the household including, but not limited to, salary before deductions. Income shall not include student financial aid, military housing and cost-of-living allowances, or irregular income from occasional small jobs.
R746-341-3. Eligibility Requirements.
Program-Based Criteria [
-- The ETCs] shall provide [ lifeline] telephone service to [ any applicant who self-certifies, under the penalty of
perjury, his] household [ is] eligible for public assistance under one of the following or
its successor programs:
1. Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
(TANF); 2. Work Toward Employment;
3. Food Stamps;
4. General Assistance;
5. Home Energy Assistance Target Programs/Help
7. Refugee Assistance;
8. Supplemental Security Income.
9. Federal Public Housing Assistance, including Section 8
10. National School Lunch Free Lunch Program; or
11. Head Start Program (income qualifying standard
B.] Income-Based Criteria [ -- The ETCs] shall provide [ lifeline] telephone service to [ any] applicant who certifies via supporting documentation[ ,] under [ the ]penalty of perjury, [ his] household income [ to be] at or below 135 percent of the then applicable Federal Poverty Guidelines.
1. Income-based eligibility is based on family size and actual income
, therefore, [ the Lifeline customers must] certify, under [ the ]penalty of perjury, the number of individuals residing in [ their] household.
A Lifeline customer must] certify, under [ the]penalty of perjury, that the documentation presented accurately represents the [ applicant's] annual household income. The following documents, or any combination of these documents, are acceptable for Lifeline certification;
a. Prior [
year's] state, federal, or tribal tax return;
b. Current year-to-date earnings statement from an employer or three consecutive months of paycheck stubs;
c. Social Security statement of benefits;
d. Veterans Administration statement of benefits;
e. Retirement/pension statement of benefits;
Worker's] Compensation statement of benefits;
g. Federal or tribal notice letter of participation in Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance; or
h. Divorce decree
, or child support wage assignment statement.
C.] Certification -- The application form for
participation [ will] be supplied by the ETC or the [ responsible agency] and [ contain] the [ following: 1. applicant's name, program participating telephone
number, if available, identification] of the [ ETC which the applicant anticipates will provide service,
and social security number; 2. a request for lifeline service], and [ where applicable, a request for Link-up America Plan
3. an affirmative statement that the applicant qualifies
for lifeline service. 4.] a statement, under[ the] penalty of perjury, as to whether the person
is participating in one of the programs listed in Subsection
other federal eligibility criteria; or a
statement, under [ the ]penalty of perjury, as to whether the [ person's] household income is at or below 135 percent of
Federal Poverty Guidelines .
a. If] qualified by income-based criteria, a statement, under
penalty of perjury, that identifies the number of individuals
residing in the household and affirms that the documentation
presented to support eligibility accurately represents the [ applicant's] household income[ .]
5.] a statement that if the applicant is later shown to have
submitted [ a ]false [ self-certification] for the Lifeline
program, the applicant [ will] be responsible to
pay the [ difference between]
l]ifeline [ service rate and the otherwise applicable service
6. a statement whether this is a new connection or a
reconnection; and 7. the applicant's signature.
D.] Documentation Retention -- The [ responsible agency will] retain income and program
eligibility certification [ for as long as agreed with the Commission].
E. Tribal Land Lifeline Discounts -- Customers who live on
tribal lands and who qualify for the state Lifeline service rate
based on the program qualifications, other federal eligibility
criteria, and income qualifications set forth in R746-341-3, are
eligible to receive a larger federal discount. Those federal
discounts are not within the scope of, nor governed by, these
R746-341-4. Continuing Eligibility.
A. Annual Verification -- The continuing eligibility of
customers on the Lifeline service rate shall be verified
B. Verification Responsibilities -- At least annually,
the responsible agency shall provide the ETCs with information
identifying customers who are eligible for Lifeline service or
Link-up America Plan participation.
C. Verification Methods -- The responsible agency will
verify the continued eligibility of Lifeline customers under the
program-based and income-based eligibility criteria.
1. The responsible agency shall identify a method by
which income eligibility will be verified on an annual basis
including, but not limited to, annual self-certification, random
beneficiary audits, a periodic submission of income documents, or
the continued eligibility of a statistically valid sample of
2. Should the ETC have a ]
reasonable basis to believe [
that ]a Lifeline telephone service [ customer no longer qualifies for Lifeline service in
accordance with this rule, the ETC shall inform the responsible
agency. If a Lifeline customer does not appear as a participant in
a program on the state computer system or the responsible agency
otherwise has a basis to believe that the customer] no longer qualifies for Lifeline service, the [ responsible agency will send a notice to the Lifeline
a. proof of participation in any of the programs listed in
R746-341-3.A or other federal eligibility criteria; or b. documentation of eligibility under the income-based
criteria set forth in R746-341-3.B.
E. False Certification Penalties -- A Lifeline telephone
service customer who does not qualify and has falsely
self-certified and participated in the Lifeline program will be
responsible to pay the difference between the Lifeline service
rate and the otherwise applicable service rate for the length of
time the customer subscribed to Lifeline telephone service for
which the customer was not eligible.
R746-341-5.] Lifeline Telephone Service Features.
A. Discounts -- Lifeline telephone service
ETCs shall consist of dial tone line, usage charges or
their equivalent, and [
any] Extended Area Service (EAS) charges, less a
discount of $3.50 and [ any] other matching funds established by the Federal
Deposits -- When customer security deposits are otherwise
, they [ will] be waived for Lifeline telephone service [ customers] if the customer voluntarily elects to receive
C. Link-Up America Plan Participation -- Companies
providing Lifeline service shall apply for the Link-Up America Plan
provided by the Federal Communications Commission.
]D. Nonrecurring Charge Waiver --
Lifeline telephone service [
customers will] receive a waiver of the nonrecurring
service charge for changing the type of local exchange usage
service to Lifeline service, or changing from flat rate service to
message rate service, or vice versa, but only one such waiver shall
be allowed during [ any] 12-month period.
E. Disconnection -- Lifeline service shall not be disconnected for nonpayment of toll service.
F. Restrictions -- Lifeline telephone service [
will] be subject to the following restrictions:
1. Lifeline telephone service [
will] only be provided to the [ applicant's] principal residence.
2. A Lifeline telephone service [
customer will] only receive a Lifeline discount on one single residential access line.
G. Other Services -- A Lifeline telephone service [
customer will] not be required to purchase other services from the ETC, nor prohibited from purchasing other services unless the [ customer] has failed to comply with the [ ETC's] terms and conditions for those services.
A. ]Reporting Requirements --
ETCs shall submit, to the Division of Public
Utilities, a semi-annual report, [ by] June 30 and December 31, of each
year, containing a description of the [ ETC's] Lifeline program. The reports shall also
contain monthly information on:
1]. the forgone revenue resulting from the discounts provided
to Lifeline [ customers];
2]. the amounts of administrative[ , advertising, voucher and other program]
3]. interest accrual amounts on Lifeline [ and Link up ]funds[ ; and]
4]. the number of Lifeline telephone service [ customers] by exchange area; and
5]. a detailed report of outreach efforts.
R746-341-8.] Funding of Lifeline.
A. ]Cost Recovery -- The total cost of providing
Lifeline telephone service, including [ the] administrative costs of the
ETCs and the costs incurred by the [ responsible agency], shall be recovered and funded as
R746-341-9.] Collection and Disbursement of Lifeline Funds.
A.] ETC Payment -- Within 30 days after
review [ and ]audit of [ an ETC's] semi-annual report, the Public Service Commission shall disburse an
amount equal to the [ ETC's] semi-annual Lifeline program expenses and Lifeline
KEY: telephone, telecommunications, rules and procedures, lifeline rates
Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment: [
February 24, ]2014
Notice of Continuation: October 18, 2010
Authorizing, and Implemented or Interpreted Law: 54-4-1; 54-4-4
More information about a Notice of Proposed Rule is available online.
The Portable Document Format (PDF) version of the Bulletin is the official version. The PDF version of this issue is available at https://rules.utah.gov/publicat/bull-pdf/2014/b20140615.pdf. The HTML edition of the Bulletin is a convenience copy. Any discrepancy between the PDF version and HTML version is resolved in favor of the PDF version.
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For questions regarding the content or application of this rule, please contact Sheri Bintz at the above address, by phone at 801-530-6714, by FAX at 801-530-6796, or by Internet E-mail at email@example.com; Jordan White at the above address, by phone at 801-530-6712, by FAX at , or by Internet E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions about the rulemaking process, please contact the Division of Administrative Rules.