FCC Issues Enforcement Advisory on Lifeline ETC Obligations

On Monday, December 9, 2019, the Enforcement Bureau issued an Enforcement Advisory (“Advisory”) to emphasize that eligible telecommunications carriers (“ETCs”) receiving federal Universal Service Fund support for the Lifeline program remain responsible for claiming Lifeline support only for eligible low-income consumers. The Advisory clarifies that although the Commission has created systems to enhance the integrity of the Lifeline program (i.e., the National Verifier (“NV”) and the National Lifeline Accountability Database (“NLAD”)), these efforts do no relieve ETCs of their responsibilities to submit accurate claims for Lifeline reimbursement.

The Advisory reminds ETCs that they must comply with their obligations in the Lifeline eligibility rules and are required to implement policies and procedures for ensuring their Lifeline subscribers are eligible to receive Lifeline services. ETCs are also reminded that they are responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the information provided to the NV until the completion of eligibility reviews finalized by the NV. Specifically, the Advisory outlines the ETC obligations for eligibility verification, enrollment and reimbursement, de-enrollment, and document retention.

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