Free Cell Phones for Seniors and Low-Income Families through Lifeline and Link-Up
Paying for costly mobile phone bills can be a heavy burden on elderly individuals on fixed incomes and families going through economic hardship. But in today’s age, having a solid cell phone plan is a necessity – for your peace of mind, safety and for dealing with day-to-day responsibilities. The government recognize this need for cheap or free cell phones for seniors and other low income individuals and now offers two programs to make cell phones affordable: Lifeline and Link-Up. These programs are funded by the Universal Service Fund (USF) and administered by the Federal Communicatons Commission (FCC) and the Universal Service Administration Company (USAC). Here’s how it works:
Free Wireless Plan Activation with Link-Up
Link-Up provides discounts or outright waiver of your activation fee for a landline or primary wireless cell phone plan. For example, Verizon Wireless offers qualifying Pennsylvania residents free activation and installation (up to $40) for all new customers. With many cell phone plans from Verizon, a free phone is included (such as the Samsung Convoy and the LG Chocolate Touch).
Discounted Monthly Charges with Lifeline
After setup, Lifeline helps subsidize your monthly expenses. For example, Verizon offers Pennsylvania residents discounts up to $12 on their monthly phone bill.
Applying for Free or Discounted Cell Phone Plans
Eligibility and application process varies from state-to-state. To apply, ask your cell phone plan provider directly to provide you with an application. You can find a list of phone companies participating in Lifeline and Link-Up by visiting LifelineSupport.org. Click on the state you live in and choose a telephone company in your are from the drop-down menu. You’ll be given complete information on eligibility requirements, discounts available and who to contact to apply.
As a general rule, if you receive any other government assistance, such as Medicaid, Food Stamps or the National School Lunch’s Free Lunch Program, you will qualify. The discount is also available to most Native Americans and individuals receiving assistance from Tribally-administered organizations. For more information, see the FCC page on Link-Up and Lifeline (though the LifelineSupport.org appears more up-to-date).
Depending on your income and the cell phone plan you choose, you can easily get a very inexpensive cell phone plan with a free cell phone. This is a great option for those looking for free cell phones for seniors or families on a tight budget who want to remain in touch with their children and relatives. Ask your cell phone plans provider if you are eligible.
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- Free Cell Phones for Senior Citizens and Those Who Need It through Safe Link Wireless: the family phone
- Government Cell Phones- Do you qualify for a free government cell phone?