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.
My dad is a war veteran who has now retired. He currently lives off of Social Security and VA benefits. It is quite hard for him to meet his monthly expenses. He has had to scrimp and save every penny and even though life is still tough financially speaking. I told him to eliminate all the extra expenses that are not necessary in his life such as cable TV and a cell phone. He said that he could get rid of the cable TV but the cell phone was necessary. He might need to make emergency calls to family and friends. I had to agree with him on having the cell phone. If he didn’t have one, I wouldn’t be able to keep in touch with him. But, the cell phone plan he had was still rather expensive. He was paying about $50 per month. I decided to do some research to find out if there were cheaper alternatives.
After doing some research, I was able to find out about the free cell phones for veterans program. Since my dad was retired and collecting only from Social Security and VA, he was able to qualify for the program due to his income level. The program is funded by Lifeline which is a government subsidy program and is paid for through the Universal Service Fund. To get the free cell phone, my dad had to fill out an application through Safelink Wireless or Assurance Wireless. Both are cell phone service providers. Not only would they give him a free phone, but he would also get about 250 free minutes per month for calling and texting. To get into this program, my dad had to send them proof of his income. He used his previous year’s tax return but you could also use your pay stubs for the last three months. Luckily for my dad, he lives in a state where this Lifeline program is available. Apparently, this program is only currently available in 38 states. You can check if it’s available in your state by going to Safelink Wireless or Assurance Wireless and then entering your address. My dad would also have to show proof of his income every year if he wanted to stay on this program.
In my research for free cell phones for retired soldiers, I also came upon a non-profit organization called Cell Phones for Soldiers. This organization aims to provide free communication services for active duty military members and veterans. It started in 2004 and has provided about 181 million minutes of free talk time. This program is supported by donations from others which include old cell phones and phone cards. You can check them out at their website for more information on how to apply for a free phone.
I’m glad I was able to find a free alternative cell phone plan for my dad. That has allowed him to save $50 per month which he uses to buy food. This program can certainly help a lot of people that are like my dad.
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.