With the advent of modern technology, mobile phones have become indispensable gadgets. Nowadays, one can hardly stay without using his or her mobile phone. Whether you want to call your friend or do business online, you need to have a mobile phone. Besides these, mobile phones also enable you to access health care services, learn online, work online, and so forth. This has made many people invest in high-tech devices. However, some of these devices cost an arm and a leg, thanks to their incredible features. As a result, individuals who come from low-income families can hardly afford these devices. In a bid to ensure that everyone remains connected, more so during the pandemic, the government is now offering free phones to all Lifeline-eligible individuals.
If you participate in a government benefit program such as Food Stamps, be sure you will get free government phones. In this article, we shall take a closer look at how one can get these free phones under food stamps program alongside other related facets.
What is Lifeline Assistance Program?
The program mentioned above is also known as the Obama Phone program. However, it was initially established by Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1980 under the presidency of Ronald Reagan. Its main aim was to give all eligible individuals discounted and free landline phone services.
This program went on for quite some time but later underwent some radical changes during the Bush Administration in 2005. From 2005, all eligible individuals were to get free wireless phones alongside discounted cell phone services.
With these components in place, low-income individuals could now communicate with their loved ones, do business online, learn online, access emergency healthcare services, and so much more.
What Documents Do You Need To Upload For Free Government Phones Service with Food Stamps / EBT Card?
If you want to get a free government cell phone, there are several documents that you need to upload. Some of these documents include the following:
- Your official name
- Your date of birth
- Your address
- Your SSN
- A Government-issued ID or Driver’s license
- A copy of your eligibility document, such as that one shows you are a participant in government assistance programs such as Food Stamps.
How to Food Stamps Recipients Apply For a Free Government Cell Phones Service?
If you are a Food Stamp recipient, you can now go ahead and apply for a free government cell phone service. The good news is that the process for applying for this service is generally easy and straightforward. Here are the steps that can help you get started:
1. Determine your eligibility for Lifeline Assistance Program
Before starting the application process, you must first determine your eligibility for the Lifeline Assistance program. Remember that the Lifeline Assistance criteria usually vary from state to state.
Here, the companies or service providers that have been approved to offer this program will be the ones that will verify your personal information. Besides this, they are the ones who will be managing your Lifeline account.
However, since the Lifeline Assistance program is a program that the government regulates, most of the eligibility requirements are applicable regardless of the country you live in. To qualify for the program, you must participate in a government assistance program such as Food Stamps or have a low income.
As for the income, it should be at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Also, if you are a participant of the following government assistance programs, be sure that you are eligible for a free government cell phone service:
- Supplemental Security Income(SSI)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program(LIHEAP)
- National School Lunch Program (Free Lunch Program Only)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families(TANF)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Federal Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit Program
- Bureau of Indian General Assistance
It is important to note that some government assistance programs vary from one state to another. Therefore, you can check if you are a participant in any of these programs and then apply for a free government cell phone service. Here, you will be able to get free monthly text, talk, and data.
2. Choose your lifeline service provider
As we speak, many service providers participate in the Lifeline Assistance program. Therefore, you should choose a service provider operating in your state and apply. Also, the service provider should be both reliable and reputable.
To know more about their network coverage, you should visit their websites and see if your service provider of choice covers your state. You should also be keen to check their plans, terms, and conditions, among other vital details. Better still, you can even check the FAQ section and learn more about their service. If this information is not satisfactory, you can contact the customer support team for more guidance.
Ideally, your service provider of choice should offer a reliable internet connection so that you can receive emails and other essential updates from the government in real-time. You should choose one that offers a free monthly data plan for convenience purposes.
3. Apply for the Lifeline program
Once you have chosen your Lifeline Assistance service provider of choice, time will be ripe for you to make your application. Here, you can either make your application online or opt for a mail-in application.
If you opt for the latter option, you need to print a copy of the application form and then enter the right details. After that, mail your application letter. If this does not work, you can contact them as soon as possible.
Although these methods are effective, enrolling online is one of the fastest methods to get started. If you consider this method, be sure that you will promptly get your desired cell phone service. Some of the documents that you should provide include your date of birth, address, your name, your SSN, and so forth.
After that, you will choose the method that makes you eligible for the program. Here, you will either choose whether you have a low income or are a participant of a government assistance program, such as the ones mentioned above.
If you qualify for Lifeline due to participating in government assistance programs such as Food Stamps, you must submit a document proving your eligibility. The same applies to those who qualify for the program, thanks to their low-income levels. Here, your Lifeline service provider will give you examples of what to submit and how you ought to submit it.
4. Wait for the approval process
Once you have made your application, the next step is to wait for the application to be approved. Typically, this can take a few days, and you will get a notification indicating whether your application saw the light of day or not.
If it was not successful, you might have to repeat the entire process all over again. However, if it was successful, be sure that you will be contacted and instructed on how you can activate your free government cell phone service. Since the approval period differs from one Lifeline provider to another, it is important that you be patient and wait for the outcome.
Which Providers Provide Free Phones With Food Stamps / EBT Card
Some of the service providers that provide free phones with food stamps include:
- Assurance Wireless
- Safelink Wireless
- Access Wireless
- Q Link Wireless
- Verizon Wireless
- True Wireless
- Life Wireless
- American Assistance
- EnTouch Wireless
What Is The Income Limit For Getting Free Phones With Food Stamps?
If your total household income stands at or is below your state’s Federal Poverty Guidelines, be sure that you qualify to get a free phone from the Lifeline Assistance Program. It is important to note that Federal Poverty Guidelines differ from one state to another.
For instance, in California, a household of 1 to 2 people should have an annual income limit of $28500. That of 3 individuals should have an annual income limit of $33100.Finally, a household of 4 people should have an annual income limit of $40300.
Food Stamp Free Government Smartphones
The following are the kind of free phones you will get with food stamps:
- Motorola E5 Play
- HTC 626s
- Cellallure Fashion 2 Plus
- Samsung Galaxy s21 Ultra
- OnePlus Nord 200 5G
- TCL Revvl 5G
- Motorola G Stylus 5G
- Apple iPhone 12 Mini
- OnePlus 9 Pro
- iPhone 13 Pro
- iPhone 13 Pro Max
- Google Pixel 5a
- Samsung Galaxy A 32
- Google Pixel 6 Pro
Are There Any Restrictions With The Lifeline Program?
Just like any other government program, Lifeline also has its own set of rules that users have to follow. These include the following:
1. Ensure that you prove your eligibility
It is imperative to note that Lifeline is only available to those who can prove their eligibility. Once you apply for this program, you have to prove that you are either a participant in a government program such as Food Stamps or have a low income. Either of these proofs can help show that you are indeed eligible for the program.
2. Ensure that you recertify each and every year
Remember that USAC always checks the eligibility status of beneficiaries on a yearly basis. Therefore, you have to recertify annually so that you can continue enjoying the benefits of this program. If USAC cannot confirm that you qualify, you will receive an email that contains a letter showing that you need to recertify as soon as possible.
You may also receive several pre-recorded messages on your phone or reminders by mails telling you that you need to recertify soonest possible. Once you receive this message, you should recertify within 60 days. Failure to do so means that your Lifeline benefits will be lost.
3. Always keep your company updated
In case you change your address, you will no longer qualify for this program. The same applies when someone else in your household gets the benefits of this program. It is important that you notify your Lifeline service provider within 30 days.
4. Discount is per household
Remember that only one household ought to get the discounts offered by the Lifeline Assistance program. A household basically refers to a group of people who live together and share expenses and income together. A household can have 2, 3, 4, or 5 members.
5. Use your Lifeline service line at least once in 30 days
Once you receive the Lifeline service, ensure that you use it at least once in 30 days. By doing so, you will be able to maintain your service. If you fail to utilize your Lifeline service within 30 days, you will get a 15-day notice to utilize it immediately, failure to which the service will be turned off. If this happens, you may have to apply for the service all-over again.
6. Be honest with your application
When making your application, you should always ensure that you are as honest as possible. Remember that it is wrong to lie on any Lifeline-related questionnaires or forms.
How Do I File a Complaint about my Lifeline Provider?
Sometimes, you may have issues with your Lifeline service provider and may want to address these issues with the relevant authorities. The good news is that Lifeline has a caring support center that is always ready to listen to your complaints.
It is important to note that the customer support team works 7 days a week, from 9.00 AM to 9.00 PM ET. Here you can either email them at LifelineSupport@usac.org or contact them on the phone at (800)234-9473.
Lifeline Assistance program has become a lifesaver for those who have a low income and would wish to have a mobile phone and affordable cell phone services. With food stamps, they can now get a free phone and free or affordable cell phone services. This will go a long way in enabling them to keep in touch with their loved ones, do business online, work online, access health care services, learn online, and so much more. If you are a participant of a government assistance program such as food stamps, you can apply for the program and enjoy the benefits we have listed above.