DAR File No. 41031
This rule was published in the February 15, 2017, issue (Vol. 2017, No. 4) of the Utah State Bulletin.
Public Service Commission, Administration
Change in Proposed Rule
DAR File No.: 41031
Filed: 01/19/2017 03:45:55 PM
Purpose of the rule or reason for the change:
Comments submitted during the comment period for the previous amendment demonstrate that the rules governing re-enrollment in the Lifeline program require further clarification.
Summary of the rule or change:
The rule governing re-enrollment is clarified to state that certain information is required to be provided to eligible telecommunications carriers no later than five days prior to the first business day of the anniversary enrollment month of the participant. (EDITOR'S NOTE: The original proposed amendment upon which this change in proposed rule (CPR) was based was published in the December 15, 2016, issue of the Utah State Bulletin, on page 40. Underlining in the rule below indicates text that has been added since the publication of the proposed rule mentioned above; strike-out indicates text that has been deleted. You must view the CPR and the proposed amendment together to understand all of the changes that will be enforceable should the agency make this rule effective.)
Statutory or constitutional authorization for this rule:
- Subsection 54-8b-15(7)
- Section 54-4-1
- Section 54-4-4
Anticipated cost or savings to:
the state budget:
The state has been administering the Lifeline program for many years and has the budget in place to continue that function. This clarification of the participant verification and re-enrollment rules will not affect the state's administrative duties. No fiscal impact to the state is anticipated.
Local governments are not required to enforce or comply with the Lifeline rules. No fiscal impact to local government is anticipated.
This clarification modifies the timeline on which small businesses that provide Lifeline telephone service will receive certain information necessary to re-enroll customers who participate in the Lifeline program. It does not change these business' obligations or create any new costs.
persons other than small businesses, businesses, or local governmental entities:
Persons who are required to re-enroll in the Lifeline program annually will be required to do so on a specific schedule. However, there are no associated costs.
Compliance costs for affected persons:
This clarification modifies the timeline on which telecommunications providers and Lifeline participants will undertake the annual re-enrollment process. It does not change the associated costs.
Comments by the department head on the fiscal impact the rule may have on businesses:
As stated in the rule analysis, this clarification modifies the timeline Lifeline providers will use to re-enroll participants annually. There is no change to the re-enrollment requirements nor any change to the associated costs.
Thad LeVar, Commission Chair
The full text of this rule may be inspected, during regular business hours, at the Office 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
- Jennie Jonsson at the above address, by phone at 801-530-6763, 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:
Jennie Jonsson, Administrative Law Judge
R746. Public Service Commission, Administration.
R746-341. Lifeline Rule.
R746-341-3. Eligibility Requirements.
A. Initial Program-Based Criteria -- An ETC shall provide Lifeline telephone service to an applicant's household which, using an approved application form, is verified by either the program administrator (for State ETCs), or by a federal ETC, in compliance with the procedures set forth in 47 CFR 54.410(c), to be eligible for public assistance under one of the following or its successor programs:
2. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or Food Stamps);
3. Supplemental Security Income (SSI);
4. Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8); or
5. Veterans Pension and Survivors Pension Benefit.
B. Tribal Residents -- A consumer who lives on Tribal lands is eligible for Lifeline service as a "qualifying low-income consumer" as defined by Section 54.400(a) and as an "eligible resident of Tribal lands" as defined by Section 54.400(e) if that consumer meets the qualifications for Lifeline specified Section A. or if the consumer, one or more of the consumer's dependents, or the consumer's household participates in one of the following Tribal-specific federal assistance programs:
1. Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance;
2. Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF);
3. Head Start (if income eligibility criteria are met); or
4. Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR).
C. Initial Income-Based Criteria -- An ETC shall provide Lifeline telephone service to an applicant who certifies via supporting documentation (to either the ETC for federal ETC customers, or the program administrator for state ETC customers), under penalty of perjury, that the applicant's household income is 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, an applicant shall certify, under penalty of perjury, the number of individuals residing in the household.
2. An applicant shall certify, under 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 within the previous twelve months;
c. Social Security statement of benefits;
d. Veterans Administration statement of benefits;
e. Retirement/pension statement of benefits;
f. Unemployment/Workers 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.
D. In order to be approved as a qualifying low-income consumer, an applicant must not already be receiving a Lifeline service, and there must not be anyone else in the applicant's household subscribed to a Lifeline service.
E. Eligibility Certification -- The application form for participation shall be supplied by the ETC or the program administrator and shall be consistent with both the federal requirements, then in effect, and any additional information requirements of the program administrator, and shall include:
1. a statement, under penalty of perjury, as to whether the person is participating in one of the programs listed in Subsection R746-341-3(A) or qualifies under other federal eligibility criteria; or a statement, under penalty of perjury, as to whether the person's household income is at or below 135 percent of the current Federal Poverty Guidelines;
2. 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;
3. a statement that if the applicant is later shown to have submitted false information in an attempt to qualify for the Lifeline program, the applicant shall be responsible to re-pay the benefits received; and
4. the signature of the applicant, either physical or electronic.
F. False Certification Penalties -- A participant who does not qualify, but who has submitted false documentation or statements to qualify for the Lifeline program, is responsible to re-pay the value of the benefits received to the state Lifeline program, and is subject to whatever penalties are then current for the federal Lifeline program.
G. Tribal Land Lifeline Discounts - This rule does not govern or otherwise affect the Tribal Land Lifeline Discount program.
R746-341-4. Duties of the Program Administrator.
A. Initial Eligibility
1. The program administrator shall process all applications submitted for participation in the state Lifeline telephone service program. The program administrator shall check the NLAD for pre-existing participation if possible. The program administrator shall inform the applicant and the state ETC of the results of the application process.
B. Annual Eligibility Verification
1. The program administrator shall verify on an annual basis the continuing eligibility status of state ETC Lifeline telephone service participants. The annual eligibility verification shall be performed on the participant list as defined by the FCC in its May 22, 2013 Public Notice in Docket No. 11-42 and any subsequent FCC guidance.
2. The annual eligibility verification shall be performed by the program administrator using the same process as outlined in the de-enrollment process in R746-341-4.C. and in accordance with 47 CFR Section 54.410(f)(3).
3. The program administrator shall provide
results of the annual recertification efforts to the ETCs pursuant
to 47 CFR Section 54.410(f)(4) and will provide all necessary FCC
Form 555 information to ETCs no later than
the first business day of the
in which the verification was last performed].
C. De-Enrollment Process
1. The program administrator shall manage the de-enrollment process for state ETC Lifeline participants who are no longer eligible for the program. Upon an initial finding that a Lifeline recipient is no longer eligible to participate in the state the Lifeline program, the program administrator shall send a notice to the participant explaining the participant's Lifeline telephone service benefit will be discontinued after 60 days unless the participant verifies continuing eligibility before that date. The notice shall include the reason(s) for the recipient being ineligible and a description of the options available to the recipient to demonstrate eligibility.
2. At the end of 60 days, if the participant has not demonstrated continuing eligibility, the program administrator shall notify the relevant state ETC to discontinue the ineligible participant's Lifeline telephone service benefit. The benefit must be discontinued in the month following notification; thus the next month's benefit cannot be provided.
3. Ineligible past participants may reapply for the Lifeline program, but must do so by submitting a completed application to the program administrator for state program participation, or to a federal ETC for federal only participation, in accordance with the application process in R746-341-3.
D. Participants Switching Between ETCs -- When a current Lifeline telephone service participant desires to change to a different ETC's Lifeline telephone service, the participant and ETCs shall follow the established NLAD procedures. A participant who is not able to complete the switch due to unresolved problems may seek the assistance of the Division of Public Utilities requesting help in resolving the issue.
E. Documentation Retention -- The program administrator shall retain income and program eligibility certification documentation, in electronic format, for as long as required by then current federal Lifeline policies. Copies of the relevant documentation shall be made available on request to auditors from either the federal Lifeline telephone service program or the state Lifeline telephone service program.
KEY: telephone , telecommunications, rules and procedures, lifeline rates
Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment: 2017
Notice of Continuation: October 19, 2015
Authorizing, and Implemented or Interpreted Law: 54-4-1; 54-4-4; 54-8b-15(7)
More information about a Notice of Change in 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/2017/b20170215.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; Jennie Jonsson at the above address, by phone at 801-530-6763, by FAX at , or by Internet E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For questions about the rulemaking process, please contact the Office of Administrative Rules.