During the nationally organized “Lifeline Awareness Week” — Sept. 12 to 16 — the Maine Public Utilities Commission is promoting the telephone programs, Lifeline and Link-Up Assistance, which offer discounts to low-income residents to ensure access to basic local telephone service.

This discounted phone service gives these Mainers a chance to receive and retain needed access to local emergency services and community resources.

“No Mainer should be without telephone service because they can’t afford it,” said Commission Chair Thomas Welch, in a news release. “If customers need help paying for their telephone services, there is help. The Commission wants all Mainers to stay connected, including those who need phone service but can’t afford it.”

Under Maine’s ongoing Lifeline program, telephone customers who participate in certain public assistance programs are entitled to receive a basic telephone service discount of up to $13.50 per month.

In addition, the Link-Up program provides a 50 percent reduction in the telephone service installation charge, up to a maximum of $30, for qualifying households that do not currently have telephone service.

The SafeLink program provides similar help for Mainers in situations where a cell phone makes more sense than a landline phone; SafeLink offers free cell phones and several plans with free pre-paid calling minutes.

To qualify for these programs — Lifeline and Link-Up or SafeLink — a customer or a member of the customer’s household must qualify for one of the following services: food stamps, Supplemental Social Security Income, Medicaid (including expanded Maine Medicaid), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Emergency Assistance Program, or the Home Energy Assistance Program.

To enroll in Lifeline or Link-Up, customers should contact their local telephone company. To enroll in the SafeLink program, call (800) 977-3768 or visit safelinkwireless.com. If customers have questions regarding the Lifeline and Link-Up programs, they can call the Commission’s Consumer Assistance Division at (800) 452-4699.