Low income families in North Carolina can receive help from Lifeline to pay an existing phone bill or they can get a new free government cell phone or wireless service. The state provides discounts on the monthly service charge for basic telephone service to eligible consumers through the federal government funded FCC program. Other than that, low income families may also be eligible for help in establishing new service, or a free phone. The Linkup and Lifeline program will help pay for the costs of connecting to or maintaining telephone service.
The help is mostly for poor families in North Carolina, including old people. The income limits will be around 150% of what the federal government considers to be poverty level. Other criteria for discounts may include people who receive public assistance, such as SNAP food stamps or those who are enrolled in LIHEAP. The federal Universal Service Fund and the state will determine the exact conditions.
Lifeline is a program that provides communication assistance to people in need, especially during a crisis. Some people in North Carolina may get a free smart phone or tablet because they have a low income or because they are senior citizens. Some groups of people are given priority when it comes to getting help, like single moms, families with young kids, and disabled people. This means that even if a family is having a difficult time, they will still be able to call for help in an emergency situation.
Free cell phones or financial help to pay bills in North Carolina
The program will only pay for one phone per household, such as a cell phone or a landline. Additional wireless devices may be provided as well. Each household is only allowed one discount, no matter how many people or wireless devices are in the home. This is further defined as either one person or a group of people living in the same place.
The discount will vary depending on the conditions, but on average, it will be about $10 per month in North Carolina. However, the disabled or Native Americans may be eligible for additional savings. This means that the discount only applies to calls made within the same state, and not to calls made to another state. The amount of money that a company charges for new service can vary depending on the company. Some companies may waive some of the fees or costs associated with new service, while others may not. The discount expires after one year, but someone can reapply if they want.
This means that even if you have a low income, you can still get a free government phone if you are enrolled in public assistance. This is for residents who receive government assistance from programs such as Social Security, Medicaid, rent assistance from Section 8, Energy Assistance (LIHEAP), Work First Family, Food Stamps, National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Programs, General Assistance, Head Start (if income eligibility is met), and State of North Carolina Assistance programs. The applicant may be able to enroll into Lifeline if they are poverty or on benefits.
The phone companies review and process applications themselves. Many companies take part in the project, including AT&T, Verizon, Crickets, US Cell, Sprint, SafeLink, and even non-traditional providers such as Wal-Mart. To apply for Lifeline, you need to contact your service provider. They can also provide additional information if needed.
North Carolina also has discounts for Native Americans. This is for families that live on tribal lands that are recognized by the federal government, such as some properties or counties in the western part of the state. If clients meet all other conditions of the program, they may qualify for an additional Lifeline discount of up to $30 per month on the local portion of their bill. Native Americans may also receive financial assistance in purchasing and connecting a new phone.
Combining this with other benefits can be beneficial. Native Americans in North Carolina may be eligible for a free cell phone through Lifeline, as well as Link-Up, if they receive Tribally Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Bureau of Indian Affairs general assistance, or if they have a child enrolled in Head Start. The Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) will also qualify them.
How to apply for phone bill help in North Carolina or free cell phones
To get a Lifeline or free cell phone, contact your wireless company. If you think your application for social services has been unfairly denied, you can call the North Carolina Department of Social Services at 919-527-6335 for help.