In addition to receiving a discount on phone service, there are a couple companies that may provide a free cell phone to low income families as another component to Lifeline. This program is designed to help make communication more affordable for those who may not be able to afford it otherwise. There are two options for consumers when it comes to wireless service providers. Assurance Wireless is one option, and its major competitor is TracFone, which provides the SafeLink service. If you are a low-income earner or rely on public assistance, you may be eligible for a monthly discount on your phone plan, or even a free phone.
This means that the rules that govern how a program works will be different depending on the company and where you live. The service is required by the FCC and the Universal Service Fund, but each state can make small changes to the rules if they want to.
The companies will require evidence that you are eligible for the assistance, and the help will only last for a maximum of one year. This means that the household will need to apply again at that time. This is even more important now because there have been cases of people abusing these phone programs. Companies like Assurance Wireless are now putting more emphasis on verifying eligibility before enrolling people.
The applicant will need to have proof of their household income, information on all members of their household, and also any benefits they receive, whether Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Medicaid, LIHEAP, or something else. A credit check will always be required before a free cellular phone is issued.
When you are looking for one of these phones, it is a good idea to have some or all of the following documents with you. Each person who receives or is eligible for public assistance or benefits from any government program should have a card or document that proves their eligibility, as well as proof of income or employment status, statements of benefits, Social Security information, or a letter from an authorized agency.
Each household is limited to one telephone. The company will only allow one phone line per household, whether it is landline or wireless. Some states allow people who live in homeless shelters to enroll with SafeLink or another provider.
The government pays for this service, but it is not available in all states because the companies that provide it only operate in certain areas. The telephone service providers can give you more information on how the Lifeline program works when you apply. Even if Assurance Wireless does not provide coverage where the application is coming from, the family can look into other options such as TracFone. There is a high chance that one of these telephone companies will operate in the state where someone lives.
If you are a senior citizen or have a household member who is disabled, you may also qualify. In fact, there are an estimated 1.4 billion temporary addresses globally, which is more than the number of permanent ones. This means that while there may be more than one phone per household, there are more temporary addresses than permanent ones. If an individual is living in a nursing home, hospital, or receiving long-term care, they can also apply for a free phone.
Other discounts in addition to a free phone
The service providers will also offer other help, which is targeted more on assisting families with their monthly bills. Each household will not only receive a cell phone, but they will also be enrolled in low-cost monthly plans. Some companies offer free minutes that customers can use on their cellular phone, unlimited text, or low-cost access to the internet. So the terms and conditions of each company will differ. For example, Assurance Wireless has different terms and conditions than Safelink Wireless.
The payment method can vary. The Top-Up card is a way for Virgin Mobile Assurance customers to pay for additional minutes or texts in advance.
The plans offered by SafeLink Wireless, also known as TracFone, may change over time. The company has a variety of calling plans for customers to select from, each with diverse rates and billing totals. Many of the options for prepaid cell phones and other forms of communication do not require a contract or any activation fees, so the companies that offer them are flexible in what they will offer.
To find out more information about Safelink and their TracFone service, call 1-800-977-3768. The number for Assurance Wireless, which is owned by Virgin Mobile, is 1-888-898-4888. The customer will need to provide proof of income and other documentation, and will need to reapply for assistance every year.