I have a friend that is 68 years old and he is currently on Medicare. Since he is retired, his only source of income is from Social Security which does not pay him a lot. He needs all the financial help he can get from the government. This includes getting subsidized housing and food stamps. Recently, he also found out that he could get a free cell phone based on his income.
The free cell phone program called Lifeline Assistance is an FCC mandated government program that helps people that are living 135 to 150 percent below the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The free phones that are provided are not fancy phones like Android or iPhone but they do have the basic necessary features that a regular cell phone would have. Along with a free cell phone, you would also get up to 250 minutes of airtime per month, voice mail, call waiting, and caller ID. 250 minutes is not a lot of minutes because the purpose of these phones is to allow people to make necessary emergency calls. Even if you don’t have any minutes, you can always dial 911 for real emergencies anytime. There are several companies that provide free cell phones. The three companies are Safelink Wireless, Assurance Wireless, and ReachOut Wireless. These companies may or may not be operating in your state so you have to check their website to see if they operate in your state.
To apply for the free cell phone you can find an application at the wireless provider’s website. When submitting your application, you have to provide proof of your income which would qualify you for a free phone. Every year that you plan on staying on the program, you have to resubmit income verification otherwise your free cell phone service will be terminated. You could then opt to continue to pay regular rates in order to use the cell phone service.
If you wanted more than the free 250 minutes and text message allotment, you could purchase additional minutes from the wireless provider. The additional minutes are generally pretty cheap. Not all Medicare recipients can get a free cell phone as the free phone service is based on income. However, since many Medicare recipients have low income, they will probably qualify for a free cell phone.
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ReachOut Wireless is a regional provider of free LifeLine program cell phones for residents of certain states who meet Federal guidelines. The cell phones are currently available through ReachOut in 25 states. ReachOut is a subsidiary of Nexus Communications. Several other wireless companies also participate in the program. We recommend investigating every program available in your state to determine which program best meets your needs.
The LifeLine program is funded by the Universal Service Fund (USF) collected from the telecommunication companies in the form of the Universal Service Charge. It is not taxpayer-funded service. LifeLine companies like ReachOut Wireless receive payment for their free services from the revenues generated by the USF. The LifeLine Assistance Program exists to ensure telecommunication services are available to low-income and at-risk households.
The program ensures these subscribers can access employment and educational opportunities equally with all other Americans. Ultimately, an educated and employed workforce will continue to grow the US economy, a winning solution for taxpayers and businesses alike. ReachOut Wireless is proud to participate in this important program and to do so in accordance with the “Wireless Eligible Telecommunication Carrier Commitment to Best Practices” guidelines.
To qualify for a free LifeLine program cell phone, you must live in a qualifying state. If you receive assistance from any Federal assistance program, such as Medicaid, Food Stamps, SSI or Supplemental Security Income, Section Eight Housing, Energy Assistance, TANF, or free school lunches through the National School Lunch Program, you qualify. You will not have to provide documentation that you are receiving one of these programs to qualify for a free ReachOut phone. The only restriction is that no one else in your household can be receiving a LifeLine free phone either through wireless or a landline.
If you are not receiving Federal assistance, you may still qualify for a free Lifeline cell phone through ReachOut Wireless. Depending on your state, you may be able to qualify for a LifeLine phone if your income is below 135 to 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. You will have to provide proof of low income to apply in this manner.
With both qualification methods, the Federal LifeLine program requires you complete an application that includes your name, address, Social Security Number, and a telephone number where you may be reached. Federal guidelines require you recertify for the program every year. Failure to do so will result in your free contract being cancelled. You may still keep the phone and pay regular wireless rates for your services.
ReachOut phones vary by model and availability, as well as by the features available. They may be new or reconditioned phones. You can upgrade your phone and services or add additional minutes to your free LifeLine phone plan for small monthly fees. Every month, your free LifeLine minutes are credited to your phone account. Once you complete the application and qualification steps, it takes 5 to 7 days to receive your phone and activation instructions.
For more information on Reachout Wireless and their service plans, visit www.ReachOut Wireless.com.
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