Lifeline is a federal benefit that lowers the monthly cost of phone or internet service.
If you get Lifeline for phone service, you can get the benefit for one mobile phone or one home phone, but not both. If you get Lifeline for internet service, you can get the benefit for your mobile phone or your home connection, but not both. If you get Lifeline for bundled phone and internet service, you can get the benefit for your mobile phone bundled service or your home bundled service, but not both.
If you are part of a family that the government considers ‘low-income,’ there are programs available to you that can help you receive a free phone. These programs will typically help connect your phone to eligible, equally free services as well.
All new subscribers must demonstrate that they are eligible. In some states, a subscriber’s eligibility may be able to be confirmed through a database. Where a database is not available, subscribers must show proof of eligibility by demonstrating that they meet the income qualifications or participate in a qualifying program listed above.
Under FCC rules, you may only be enrolled in a single LifeLine program per household. However, in the event you are receiving service from another provider and want to change your LifeLine benefit, it is easy to switch. Once approved, you can even keep your phone number. After you apply, you can transfer your LifeLine service from the current provider and you can begin to enjoy the benefits provided under the terms of the Lifeline program.
You might be able to use any one of the following programs to establish at least one landline at a fraction of the usual cost. In addition, they might be able to help you and your family get additional minutes per month for each phone as well as provide you with the phones themselves. The terms and conditions for each program will vary, and not every program is available in every U.S. region. We recommend that you check availability when you’re looking into these matters.
1. Safelink Wireless
If you’re approved for the Safelink program, you’ll get a free cell phone and the number of free minutes you receive depends on the plan you choose.
As long as you qualify for the service according to state regulations, there are no other restrictions other than that your phone line must be based in your place of residence and under the legal name of the qualified customer.
LifeLine customers are required to make at least one call or send one SMS message every month or risk being de-enrolled from the program.
Virgin Mobile helps to provide low-income families with free phone services via its Assurance Wireless program. If you are approved for the Assurance Wireless program, you’ll get a free phone complete with unlimited texting and 500 minutes per month for taking calls. Although the Assurance program was originally only offered in just five states, it has recently grown to encompass several more.
The Toll Limitation Service, or TLS, is now partnered with both LIfeline and Link Up services to provide resources to low-income families still in need of a landline. This program aims to provide those in need with the non-cellular services that other companies might not be able to offer. Lifeline is available through several phone carries and telecommunications companies. It can save members a minimum of $10 per month and cover a portion of start-up costs. The program covers up to $30 of these costs and you have the option to borrow up to $200 at no interest for a year.