The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

September 10, 2013

PUC offers Lifeline for low-income residents

JOHNSTOWN — Need a telephone?

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is reaching out to you.

PUC Commissioner Pam Witmer is looking for low-income residents to participate in Lifeline, a program that offers discounts on monthly phone bills.

“In today’s increasingly connected world, telecommunication services provide a vital lifeline to connect families and friends and vital emergency services,” Witmer said. “No Pennsylvanian should be left out just because they do not have a telephone.”

Witmer spoke to a gathering Tuesday at the Head Start Center on Broad Street as part of “Lifeline Awareness Week.”

Representatives from the PUC, Pennsylvania Telephone Association (PTA), state Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA) and Verizon spoke about the need to educate people about Lifeline and other programs that help consumers pay phone bills.

More than half a million Pennsylvania residents tapped into the 12-year-old Lifeline program in 2012 alone, Witmer said.

“One phone per household is the (goal) we’re hitting,” PTA representative Steve Samara said.

He said PTA is trying to cut down on fraud to make sure eligible residents are connected.

“People who are eligible and need to be on the service should be on the service,” he said.

Those who participate in Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps or SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), the Free Lunch Program, Head Start or are below 135 percent of the federal Poverty Guidelines are eligible.

Monthly discounts on phone bills through Lifeline average $9.25.

“Lifeline provides crucial financial assistance so no one is without a telephone,” Witmer said.

For more information about Lifeline, contact the PUC at 1-800-692-7380 or log on at

The event was sponsored by the PUC and the Community Action Partnership of Cambria County.

Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at

Telephone assistance

2013 income guidlines for Lifeline:

Household size          135 percent of poverty levels

          1                                      $15,512

          2                                     $20,939

          3                                     $26,366

          4                                     $31,793

Each additional person: $5,427

Source: Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • foust_25 Teen shot in Oakhurst

    A 16-year-old New Jersey boy was taken to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center on Thursday after being shot three times in the Oakhurst section of Johnstown.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Audit: City overspent by $700G in 2013

    Legacy costs contributed significantly to the city of Johnstown coming up $689,000 short in its core services funding during 2013.

    July 24, 2014

  • Kuzma, jonathan Guilty plea in hammer death

    The Johnstown man who authorities said killed his father with a hammer last year pleaded guilty Wednesday to criminal homicide, authorities said.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • quecreek rescue Events to mark anniversary of Quecreek rescue

    When word spread that nine Quecreek miners were trapped underground in July 2002, Bill Arnold’s dairy farm quickly became the rescue effort’s ground zero.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Huger, Stephen Accused Hornerstown shooter will stand trial

    A Johnstown man will stand trial in connection with a July 12 shooting in the Hornerstown section of the city.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tribune Treasure!

    July 24, 2014

  • Board names Zahorchak’s successor

    The Greater Johnstown school board at a special meeting Thursday named a superintendent to replace the retiring superintendent, rehired its last business manager and approved other administrative appointments.

    July 24, 2014

  • Pasquerilla, Mark Pasquerilla recognized as arts patron

    First lady Susan Corbett announced Thursday from the Jimmy Stewart Museum in Indiana, Pa., that Mark Pasquerilla of Johnstown has earned the Patron Award from the 2014 Governor’s Awards for the Arts.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ebensburg gets ready to party

    Party down with a shutdown.
    Downtown Shutdown, a street party featuring music and food, will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday in downtown Ebensburg.

    July 24, 2014

  • ROTARY Local Rotary Club earns recognition

    The Rotary Club of Johnstown was named Outstanding Large Club of the Year in District 7330, which serves 42 Rotary Clubs in seven counties in southwest Pennsylvania, at the Rotary District 7330 and District 7300 Joint Conference that was held June 26 through 29 at Seven Springs Mountain Resort.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo


What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

     View Results
House Ads