New York - Widespread Abuse Reported In U.S. Phone Subsidies
New York - According to a Wall Street Journal (http://on.wsj.com/11Edk0y) review, a large number of people who received phones last years through the Lifeline program have not proven they are eligible to receive them.
On Monday, the Journal reported that the U.S. government spent $2.2 billion last year providing phones to low-income Americans, a dramatic increase from the $819 million spent in 2008.
Suspecting widespread abuse by ineligible recipients, the FCC tightened its rules last year, requiring carriers to verify eligibility of existing subscribers.
An FCC review for the Journal showed that of the top five Lifeline carriers, 41% of their more than six million subscribers either couldn’t prove their eligibility or simply failed to respond to requests for certification.
The program, begun in 1984, is available to to people who fall within federal pover ty guidelines or are on food stamps, Medicaid, or the assistance program. One Lifeline subscriber is allowed per household.
Americans pay an average of $2.50 a month per household to fund various subsidized communications programs, including Lifeline.
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