Learn How You Might Be Able to Save on a Cell Phone
Cell phones have become a commonplace necessity for most of the United States population. In the states, it’s rare to walk down the street and not see most residents using their cell phones. A cell phone helps you stay connected to friends and family members, keep in contact with potential job prospects and have much-needed instant information at your fingertips. A program called Lifeline is available to those residents on low and fixed incomes who are having trouble affording a cell phone on their own.
With many residents below the poverty line and numerous retirees on fixed incomes, the Lifeline program has been able to help countless residents stay connected and informed with free cell phones and discounted monthly phone plans. With different providers, cell phone plan choices, device options, and opportunities for discounted services, the Lifeline program is useful for any resident who qualifies.
So, how can you take advantage of the Lifeline program? Here are some important details on how the program works, who qualifies, and how to use this program for a free or affordable cell phone.
Do I qualify for a Lifeline Plan?
In order to qualify for the Lifeline program, a resident must meet the income criteria. As a resident, you may automatically qualify for the Lifeline program if you’re already receiving benefits from another government assistance program. Being enrolled in one of the following programs leads to automatic qualification for the free cell phone plan:
- Supplemental Security Income
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
- Food Stamps
- Bureau of Indian Affairs Programs
- Temporary Cash Assistance
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
- National School Lunch (free program)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
In addition to receiving assistance from one of these programs, another eligibility factor that could qualify you for the Lifeline program is a calculation of your household income. If your household income is at or below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, you also automatically qualify for the Lifeline program and may receive a free cell phone with an extremely discounted monthly plan. In a one-member household, if the total income is $17,655 or less annually, you can take advantage of the Lifeline program. A two-person household that earns $23,895 or less per year will also be able to sign up for the free cell phone plan.
Only one person per household is legally allowed to take advantage of the Lifeline program. The best part about this program is that cell phones are modern, technologically advanced devices that offer all the best coverage and services. The extremely discounted plans through the Lifeline service can include data and text messaging, allowing users to take advantage of all the latest trends in the cell phone industry, just at a better cost.
How do I get a free cell phone?
IIf your annual income calculations meet the criteria of the Lifeline program or you are already participating in one of the government programs listed above, you can claim your free cell phone and discounted plan. One of the perks of the Lifeline program is that you have a few cell phone providers to choose from that participate in this program. You can still shop around and compare plans and service providers like you usually would when opening a new cell phone line. The cell phone providers that currently participate in the Lifeline program include:
- Access Wireless
- Assurance Wireless
- Safelink Wireless
By choosing one of these cell phone providers, you can receive a free Lifeline cell phone and discounted monthly phone plan. T-Mobile also participates in the program; however, they do not offer a free cell phone, but a discounted device and reduced-rate plan.
Visiting the websites of each of these cell phone carriers and comparing the Lifeline plans and their prices is the best way to make a choice. Think about your usage of the cell phone and if you’ll use a lot of data on the Internet, numerous text messages to keep in touch with family members, or several talking minutes while speaking to potential employers. When you determine what you’ll use the cell phone for most often, you can choose which plan will be the best monthly value for you.
Once you’ve decided on a cell phone carrier, you can go on their website and fill out a Lifeline form. The form will ask specific questions about your income and current government assistance programs to determine your eligibility. Once the form has been turned in, the cell phone carrier will send it to the state government. When eligibility for the Lifeline program has been approved, your cell phone will ship directly to your mailing address. You can begin using the cell phone as soon as you receive it.
Be cautious of your plan and what it offers. If you need more minutes, text messages, or data, be aware of what the cell phone carrier will charge you to add these on each month. If you consistently find yourself being charged overage fees, consider changing your plan or carrier to something that better suits your needs.
The Lifeline program is helping low and fixed-income residents to have access to free cell phones with reduced monthly plans. This helps level the playing field when it comes to job searching, keeping in touch with family members and friends, and seeking instant information. If you qualify for a free cell phone and discounted plan, it’s time to take advantage of what this program has to offer.