I have a friend who comes from a poor family. The family barely makes enough money to put food on their table. They had to apply for many government assistance programs like food stamps, Medicaid, and housing assistance. Even with all these programs they were still just barely making it. My friend’s husband was working at a minimum wage job and my friend was a stay at home mom taking care of the three kids. To help ease their money burdens, I told them that they could apply for free cell phones for poor people.
I know that their cell phone bill is about 60 dollars per month. If they cancelled their current cell phone plan and got the free cell phone service, they would be able to save that 60 dollars and put it towards better use. I told my friend that the government has a subsidy program called Lifeline. This program pays for free phone service for low income households and it is paid for by the Universal Service Fund. The cell phone service provider such as Safelink Wireless or Assurance Wireless would supply the free cell phone along with free minutes. You would typically get a free cell phone including 250 free air times per month which would include text.
To apply for the cell phone, I instructed my friend to go to the wireless service provider’s website to apply. From there you can print out the application and fill it out. First, you have to check to see if the program is available in your state. If so, then you can fill out the application. You would then have to submit proof of your eligibility. That means you could send proof that you are receiving other government assistance. You could also send your previous year’s tax return or last three months pay stub. Once you are in the program, you would have to send proof of eligibility each year that you plan on staying on the program.
The cell phone program allows 250 free minutes per month which is not a lot of minutes. The phone should mainly be used for emergencies and not for chatting with your friends. However, if you wanted, you could also purchase additional minutes. For five dollars, you could buy another 250 minutes.
After I told my friend about this program, she felt very happy because it would alleviate her financial burden a little bit. Every little bit of savings helps when you are trying to keep your expenses in check.