Through the Lifeline Assistance program, a qualifying low-income family may be eligible for a free government cell phone plan. Programs like Assurance Wireless powered by Virgin Mobile USA provide both a cell phone and 250 monthly minutes for free through Lifeline. To find more information and to see if you may qualify, keep reading!
What Does the Assurance Wireless Program Provide?
Assurance Wireless aims to provide free government cell phone service to low-income families giving them access to family, friends, emergency personnel, employers, and other individuals. Lifeline provides either a cell phone through companies like Assurance Wireless or helps with landline expenses.
Those who qualify for Assurance Wireless are given a free government cell phone, currently the Assurance Wireless Jax. This simple-to-use talk and text phone feature a thin design, full-color screen and mobile web. In some states, customers can choose to upgrade to an Assurance Wireless Loft phone for $29.99. This upgrade provides a full keyboard, 1.3 MP camera, large screen, and hands-free Bluetooth.
In addition to the free phone, customers receive 250 free minutes each month with these low-income cell phone plans. Customers can choose to add more voice minutes and other options for a low monthly fee. For $5 a month, another 250 minutes are added for a total of 500 monthly minutes. If the customer wishes to have even more minutes and texting, he can pay a $20 monthly fee which upgrades his account to 1000 voice minutes and 1000 text messages a month.
Extra minutes and texts can be paid for individually as needed. Assurance Wireless offers the following competitive prices for individual minutes and texts:
- 10 cents a minute for each additional minute
- 10 cents per text
- 411 service costs $1.75 in addition to standard airtime charges
- International calling is also available
As long as there is money in the customer’s Assurance Wireless account, the extra benefits are available. If the customer fails to refill his account for whatever reason, he will still receive the 250 free monthly minutes.
How Can I Qualify?
Eligibility requirements for low-income cell phone plans vary depending on the state. Most states require you to be eligible for one or more of the following government-funded programs: Medicaid, Food Stamps/SNAP, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), or the National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Program. You may also qualify based on your income. Most states require the consumer’s income to fall at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines. You will need to check with your individual state’s requirements to see if you qualify.
Customers are required to confirm their eligibility yearly. Once a customer reaches a higher financial income, he may contact Lifeline and upgrade his phone service to a regular plan.