Having a mobile phone is not just a luxury—in today's day and age having a mobile phone is often a necessity. A mobile phone is necessary in order to apply for jobs and in order to work many jobs. Employers expect to be able to call and get ahold of you quickly. Having a cell phone is an integral part of life, and the government understands that, which is why they created Lifeline, a free government benefits program that provides individuals in need with mobile phone service.
#1 Government Programs That Qualify You for a Free Phone & Service
There are a few different ways to qualify for a Lifeline phone from the government. If you are already a part of any federal assistance program, then you qualify for the Lifeline program.
If you are part of the supplemental nutrition assistance program, receive Medicaid, or receive Supplement Security Income, you automatically qualify. If you live in public housing, you qualify. If you get a veteran's pension or survivor benefit, you qualify, or if you are part of a tribal program.
If you can show via a benefits letter or official document that you are part of one of these programs, any cell phone provider that offers the Lifeline program can sign you up on the spot. This is true if you or your child or dependent is part of any of the above programs.
#2 Income Requirements that Qualify You for a Free Phone & Service
You don't have to be part of a federal assistance program to qualify for a free phone and service through Lifeline. You can also qualify if you meet the income requirements. If your family's income, based on the number of people in your home and the amount of money that you bring home each month, is at or below 125% of the federal poverty guidelines, you'll qualify for Lifeline.
#3 How to Get a Phone & Service
With Lifeline, you are provided with a free phone. Generally, you are given a basic smartphone. This is not going to be a top-of-the-line Android or Apple device. Instead, it is going to be a middle-of-the-line smartphone that will allow you to make phone calls, receive text messages, get online, and use most mobile applications. It may not be fancy, but it will be a smart phone that you can use.
In addition to being provided with a free smart phone, you will also be provided with free service as well. You will be provided with unlimited text messages, a generous amount of cell phone minutes, and usually a small data plan. If you need more data or minutes, you will have to pay for them yourself.
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