Initial States for the National Verifier

USAC is pleased to announce that upon its initial launch on December 5, 2017, the National Verifier will verify eligibility for consumers in the states listed below. Visit the National Verifier section of USAC’s website for more details.

Colorado
Automated data sources: SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing

Mississippi
Automated data sources: SNAP, Federal Public Housing

Montana
Automated data sources: Federal Public Housing

New Mexico
Automated data sources: SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing

Utah
Automated data sources: SNAP, Medicaid, Federal Public Housing

Wyoming
Automated data sources: Federal Public Housing

Certification statements

In addition to gathering eligibility information, the National Verifier will also gather customers’ signed certification statements.

Simplify, simplify, simplify!

Stakeholders universally agree that the certification statements need to be simplified for easier comprehension. The legal language is particularly difficult for the Lifeline-eligible population to understand. Areas that need special attention and clarification are explaining what a “household” is for Lifeline, and the last two attestations. USAC is working with our partners at the FCC on re-writing the certification statements so they are easier for consumers to understand, and still compliant with the rules. Continue reading “Certification statements”

Document Upload

If the National Verifier cannot verify a consumer’s eligibility using a state or federal data source, it will proceed to “document upload,” which prompts the customer to upload proof of eligibility.

In feedback sessions, service providers shared their experiences and challenges with uploading eligibility documentation for the Lifeline Program.

Common upload mistakes

Stakeholders shared their stories of challenges with digital document upload, and advice about how to avoid them. For example: Continue reading “Document Upload”

Documentation

If the National Verifier cannot verify a consumer’s eligibility using a state or federal data source, it will prompt the customer to upload proof of eligibility. Stakeholders shared the following advice about explaining supporting documentation to customers:

Provide specific instructions and examples

We heard many times that it’s important to have specific explanations for each “correctable denial” (unverifiable information that we need documentation to support), and explain exactly what the consumer has to do (or upload) next. For example, if the consumer needs to prove their SSN, a driver’s license is not sufficient. Continue reading “Documentation”

Communicating Expectations to Consumers

As we mentioned in the post about consumer experience, we learned about the advantages of communicating expectations to consumers. Suggestions include adding a “submitted” or “in progress” notice after the customer clicks “check my eligibility” to show that the system is processing their request (otherwise, the customer may click on the button several times, and become frustrated). Continue reading “Communicating Expectations to Consumers”

Eligibility Checking Continued

In the last post, we talked about the issue of customer names on identification documents not matching their name on program enrollment. Today, we’ll cover additional challenges that stakeholders shared about confirming consumer eligibility using a state or federal data source.

Lag time for eligibility data

We learned that some state/federal data sources are not updated in a timely manner, and there can be a lag between when a customer enrolls for a program (i.e., SNAP) and when their name appears in the database. Similarly, lag time exists for customers that change their names. We are also aware that not all eligible customers may be in the database.

Stakeholders also reminded USAC that data sources experience service outages, and USAC should be prepared for data sources to occasionally be temporarily unavailable. Continue reading “Eligibility Checking Continued”