The United States government has a program that offers a free cell phone to people who meet certain simple, basic requirements. The free cell phone program includes a limited usage plan of up to 250 minutes. There are specific limits to income. Let’s look at just a short example of one of the ways to get a free cell phone from the state. Here you can review all that you need to do to enroll. The site will contain information that is specific to your state. The Lifeline program also subsidizes land line phones. Other sites to consult are SafeLink Wireless or AssuranceWireless. The SafeLink Wireless program is government sponsored. Though it is not available in all 50 states, it is anticipated to be only a matter of a short while before the entire country is covered. An eHow Contributor acknowledges, “With popularity of cell phones, the service is being updated to partner with various carriers and provide cellular service.”
SafeLink is not available in all areas that provide the free government cell phone service. So check first. At latest search, SafeLink is available in 33 states. A quick call to 1-800-SAFELINK will verify or you can try SafeLinkWireless.com. If service from this company is not in your area, you can probably find out when it will be. Once you verify what service vendor is in your state, study the guidelines to see if you do qualify or not. There are a number of government sponsored help programs that will qualify you if you are already enrolled. These programs range from food assistance to housing help. Food Stamps, Medicaid, Section 8, Supplementary Security Income, National School Lunch and Energy Assistance programs are just a few. Your income level is the strongest qualifier for program acceptance in your state. All states do not have the same application method or application process. You may apply online. Other verifying information, such as income verification has to be sent in by mail.
Many of us know someone who does not have a cell phone and is thereby at a real disadvantage in their everyday lives as a result. A cell phone is absolutely necessary in today’s world, especially since you see very few public phones anymore. Cell phones are most important because you can be reached wherever you are in most cases. With a land line you can only be reached at a specific location – usually at home. So, if an emergency occurs at school, you don’t have to wait until you get home to get the message that you were needed at the school because your child took sick during the morning homeroom at 8:45am. If you are not at a place of employment, you will not get the message in a timely or meaningful manner. Many employers prefer to make a phone call to a candidate for an interview appointment than send an e-mail. Easy access may make the difference. And last, but not least, you can dial 911 from wherever you are in an emergency. According to the copyright 2012 phone-bill-assistance.com source, “If a consumer needs assistance with telephone service, the consumer applies for the program through his or her local telephone company. If the phone company is eligible, it asks the Universal Service Fund’s Low Income Program for reimbursement for the difference of the normal charge for service and the discounted rate offered to the consumer. For each family that applies for the Lifeline or Link Up program, the telecommunications carrier must provide the Universal Service Fund’s Low Income Program with Form 497. The carrier must file the form monthly or quarterly. Depending on the time of the year, some carriers may submit the form for up to 25 months.”
With 250 minutes being a little over 4 hours, that time can go by before you know it. There is a certain discipline that the consumer has to have while using the government sponsored free cell phone. This service is really designed for emergencies or so that you can be available for calls that may only come once, like a job interview. It is not a program that allows you to use the phone time for social calls. You cannot be long-winded nor can you afford to be put on hold for long periods of time. This service is strictly in-and-out, on-and-off. So, let us say that, for whatever reason, you have run through your 250 minutes on the 15th of the month. Different cell phone provider plans may each have their own procedures with help offers, but, just as an example, let’s look at the Assurance Wireless customer service policy in this regard. Fortunately, the customer has a few options to choose from. FreeGovernmentCellPhone.net should be the first place to start as a guide for access to more minutes when you run out of time.
- #1 – Once you have gone through your 250 minutes you cannot get any incoming calls, but you can make calls to 911 and Assurance Wireless customer service. However, if you have a cash reserve in your cell phone account, you can get continued service, but at the rate of 10 cents per additional minute after the first 250 minutes.
- #2 – You can also upgrade your Assurance Wireless plan to the extra minutes plan. The consumer has two options here – a $5 Talk Offer or a $20 Talk & Text Offer. Either one of these options allows you the ability to significantly increase your monthly air time – tight budget or not. If you chose the $5 Talk Offer you will get a total of 500 voice minutes – again, for just an additional $5 per month. But if you chose the $20 Talk & Text Offer, you will get a total of 1,000 voice minutes and 1,000 domestic messages. Important to keep in mind is that you don’t get any rollover minutes.
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