Assistance Programs

Southwest Minnesota Broadband Services (SMBS) is authorized to provide federally-funded and state-funded service discount programs that are designed to promote universal service by providing low-income individuals with discounts on either their monthly local telephone service or their Internet service.

The federal Lifeline program provides eligible subscribers with a monthly credit on the basic local service portion of their telephone bill or on a qualifying Internet service. (Contact SMBS to check if the Internet service you have chosen is a qualifying service.)  The credit applies on the main home telephone number listed in the name of the eligible subscriber or on the qualifying Internet service the eligible customer subscribes to.

The state Telephone Assistance Plan (TAP) program provides an additional monthly credit for Lifeline subscribers who have a landline telephone service.  The State of Minnesota does not offer a discount program for Internet service.

If you or someone in your household* participates in one or more of the following programs, you will be asked to provide documentation of current enrollment.  The documentation should include the name of the qualifying party and dates of eligibility.  The method of documentation must show that you are currently enrolled in the program.

  • Medicaid/Medical Assistance
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/EBT
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA) Section 8
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit

If using income as your qualifying reason, you must prove your household* income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty income guidelines.

Attach documents such as the following to your application to prove your household* income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty income guidelines.  All income for yourself and members of your household* must be included.  Again, the documents you provide must be the most current ones available to you.

  • Last year’s state or federal tax return
  • Current annual income statement from employer
  • Three consecutive months of most recent paycheck stubs
  • Veterans Administration benefits statement
  • Unemployment/Worker’s Compensation statement
  • Social Security benefits statement
  • Retirement/Pension benefits statement
  • Divorce decree
  • Child Support document
  • Other official document containing income information

Option 1:  Apply online by going to and creating an account. You may be asked to upload documents showing your identity and your eligibility. Upon receiving a positive eligibility response on your application, please contact SMBS to notify us so your enrollment can be completed.

Option 2: Submit a paper application to USAC, Lifeline Support Center, PO Box 1000, Horseheads, NY 14845. Include copies of your eligibility documents. You can request an application from SMBS, or print it from Lifeline Application link below. Upon receiving a positive eligibility response on your application, please contact SMBS to notify us so your enrollment can be completed.

Option 3: Call the SMBS office to set up an appointment with our Lifeline specialist. This option requires an in-office visit. Please bring along proof of identity and supporting documentation for verification of eligibility as described within the QUALIFYING METHODS section of this page.

Service must be in your name, and you or someone in your household* must participate in at least one of the public assistance programs listed below, or your household* income must be at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines.

When you no longer participate in any of the qualifying programs listed above, you are no longer eligible for Lifeline or TAP. You are obligated by law to notify SMBS and advise us that you are no longer eligible for Lifeline or TAP. The program also requires annual recertification to make sure you still qualify for the program. Failure to re-certify will result in de-enrollment and the termination of benefits. Lifeline is a government assistance program, the service is non-transferable, only eligible consumers may enroll in the program, and the program is limited to one discount per household.  You may not have a discount on both your telephone service & your Internet service.  You may not have multiple discounts such as one from your phone provider & another from your Internet provider.

Lifeline Application

If you have questions about these discount programs or the application please contact our office.

*A household is any individual or group of individuals who live together at the same address and share income and expenses.