Free Cell Phones for Low Income Families

There are literally millions of low income families in the US today. Ever since the recession hit, there has been a growing number of families that fall under the low income status. A close friend of mine was under the low income status and her family was receiving government assistance such as food stamps and Medicaid. However, they were still just barely scraping by in life. The husband works a low paying job while my friend stays at home to care for the kids. Since their household expenses are pretty tight, I told them about the free cell phones for low income families program.

They currently pay about 60 dollars a month for two cell phones. If they were to get a free cell phone, they would be able to save that 60 dollars and put it towards other expenses. I explained to them that only one free cell phone would be given to a household. They would also be able to get about 250 free minutes every month which would include text. The program is funded by a government subsidy program called Lifeline and is paid for by the Universal Service Fund. The phone would be perfect for use in emergency situations. It should not be used for making social calls as you would quickly run the minutes down.

To apply for the program I told my friend to go to Safelink Wireless or Assurance Wireless and apply through their website. These two companies are service providers. On their website, you can select the state that you are living in and it will tell you whether or not the program is available in your state. Currently, the program is available in about 38 states and more states will probably be added in the future. Once you fill out and submit the application, you will also have to send proof that you are currently receiving other government assistance benefits or you can submit proof of your income. If you submit proof of income, you would have to either submit your previous year’s tax return or you can submit your last 3 months pay stub. Once you are approved, you will have to submit proof of eligibility every year that you plan on staying on the program. My friend asked me what to do if she needed more than the 250 minutes allotted per month. I told her that she could add minutes to her plan but she would have to pay for it. However, adding extra minutes is pretty cheap. You could add another 250 minutes of airtime and text for about 5 dollars.

My friend was happy to hear about this program because it would definitely save a lot of money for her family. She said that the money saved would be able to go towards buying healthy food and paying for gas. I would imagine this program could help many families facing similar situations so they do not have to choose between buying food and paying their cell phone bill.