HONOLULU, HI – U.S. Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) and Brian Schatz (D-HI), U.S. Representatives Ed Case (D-HI) and Jill Tokuda (D-HI), Governor Josh Green, M.D., and Lieutenant Governor Sylvia Luke announced that the Federal Communications Commission has temporarily waived certain eligibility rules to ensure that people receiving federal disaster assistance due to the Maui fires can easily apply for and enroll in Lifeline, a federal program that helps lower the cost of phone and internet service for those in need.
“This order will make it easier for families and communities impacted by the fires on Maui to remain connected. It’s one more way that the federal family of agencies is stepping up to support our communities and provide relief as we begin the road to recovery,” said Senator Hirono.
More information, including how to enroll, is available here. Individuals will need to provide documentation during enrollment that they are receiving individual assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Individuals and Households Program (IHP). Individuals may be able to receive a free phone and free service from participating Lifeline carriers.
The Lifeline program currently offers qualifying low-income consumers discounts on fixed or mobile voice or high-speed Internet access service, as well as on bundled service. Qualifying low-income consumers can receive a $9.25 monthly discount on Lifeline-supported broadband Internet access service or a $5.25 monthly discount on Lifeline-supported voice service. Lifeline consumers residing on qualifying Tribal lands can receive up to a $34.25 monthly discount on Lifeline-supported service.
Senator Hirono is committed to providing a rapid response to the devastating wildfires on Maui and delivering federal assistance to those affected by the disaster. On August 24, ahead of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra’s visit to Maui, U.S. Senator Hirono, along with the rest of the Hawaii congressional delegation, called on the Secretary to take additional federal actions to support mental health, child care, and language services for survivors. On August 23, Senator Hirono announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will award $1.3 million to the State of Hawaii to support people who were already experiencing homelessness—those living in an emergency shelter, transitional housing, or a place not meant for human habitation—or at risk of homelessness through the Rapid Unsheltered Survivor Housing (RUSH) program. The federal funding is awarded to help communities in Maui in the aftermath of the recent wildfire disaster. On August 9, Senator Hirono, along with the rest of the Hawaii congressional delegation, urged President Biden to act swiftly to make all federal resources available and approve any request for a presidential disaster declaration. This declaration would help ensure that the affected communities can access important federal funding and resources to recover.