Grants cellphones claimed by many who can not prove eligibility

A hefty chunk of taxpayers' money spent by the government on mobile phone services for low-income Americans may have been lost.

A federal program called Lifeline provides discounts on large mobile service qualification low-income households. The aim is to ensure that they can connect with families, employers and emergency services.

How many of these households would in fact have been receiving the discount?

Last year, the Federal Communications Commission began to force mobile operators to confirm the eligibility of their subscribers Lifelife. The agency thought that nearly 15 percent of users are deemed ineligible, but the strict rules discovered more than that.

A review of the program by the Wall Street Journal found that 41 percent of the 6 million people who have benefited from Lifeline were unable to prove their eligibility or failed to respond to requests for verification of their carrier.

In total, the government spent about $ 2.2 billion last year Lifeline.

Mobile phone subscribers pay about $ 2.50 per household to fund Lifeline and other subsidized programs. This money is used to pay the carrier $ 9.25 per customer per month to offer free or cheap mobile phone, according to the newspaper. Lifeline funding has increased over the years, most carriers have jumped on the bandwagon.

But holes in the program seems to have led to physical abuse.

Until recently, subscribers do not have to submit proof of their income level. They could continue with the program without having to periodically check their eligibility for this test. And no check was made to see how many people in a household benefiting from Lifeline.

The results of the program seem to have learned a lesson from the FCC.

Following the Lifeline Reform Order adopted on 31 January 2012, Lifeline subscribers must now show documentation of their income. Carriers have their recertification each year. And subscribers must confirm that no one else in their household uses Lifeline.

The new rules make a difference? So far, yes.

FCC Lifeline year-end savings report showed that more than $ 213 million was recorded last year in the wake of reforms. Agency and provides even greater savings this year and next
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