This week is Lifeline Awareness Week, and, as chairman of the non-profit board that helps to administer Lifeline in Illinois, I want to share some information about the program.

Imagine going without a phone and being unable to contact emergency services, family, employers and the others we all rely on. For too many, this is a daily reality, but the Lifeline program can help.

Lifeline is a federally funded program that partially subsidizes the cost of one telephone per household, either a cell phone or a landline phone. This year, there are also exciting changes to the program that mean more providers are offering internet instead of or along with voice telephone services.

Participants in Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, federal public housing assistance, veterans pension programs, survivors benefits programs or someone making 135 percent or less of federal poverty guidelines are eligible.

If you believe you are eligible, contact your landline provider or a participating phone company. Links to information about participating companies are available on our website at linkupillinois.org.

In Illinois, a program funded entirely through voluntary donations also subsidizes the cost of phone and now internet installation for Lifeline participants. If you would like to donate to the program, you can do so on our website.

We all rely on telephone and internet services. No one needs to go without this vital lifeline because of cost.

You can learn more at linkupillinois.org.

Allen Cherry