The Lifeline-supported wireless service consists of the following elements:
- A free wireless phone
- Activation of service without a fee or contract of any kind
- No monthly charge
- Typically, 250 minutes of airtime each and every month at no charge
It is impossible for users to run up a bill or accidentally incur any charges. When they reach the limit of their plan, the phone is suspended. At that point, users can simply wait until the next monthly anniversary date of when they first received their phone for their monthly allocation of minutes to be automatically loaded onto their account. Alternatively, if they wish to keep using their phone until their next monthly anniversary date, they can purchase additional minutes on a prepaid basis at very inexpensive rates.
There are two ways individuals can qualify for a free cell phone and free service:
1. Individuals may present visual proof in the form of an official government card or document of being on at least one of the following Federal programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, ie Food Stamps)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Medicaid (please note this is not the same as Medicare)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- National School Lunch Program's Free Lunch Program
2. To qualify for income eligiblity, individuals must provide copies of one or more of the documents listed below. If you provide documentation that does not cover a full year (such as current pay stubs), you must submit three (3) consecutive months of the same type of document within the current calendar year.
- Most Recent Year’s Tax Return
- Social Security Benefit Statement showing monthly payment amount
- 1099 from Social Security Administration
- Most Recent Year’s W-2
The dollar amounts that determine whether individuals qualify are 135% of the Federal Poverty Limits for their size household. For a household size of 1, that means an individual's annual income must not exceed $15,512. (For every additional household member, add $5,427).
Customers must have a vaild Social Security Number that matches the information in the computer database our system uses to receive a phone. We do not require that we see an actual Social Security card; individuals just must know their number.
We prefer to see a photo identification card, but again, this is not an absolute requirement. We do need to enter a birthdate for the individual and again, this must match up with the information in the computer database.
PO Boxes cannot be used for a service address. For every individual, the system requires us to enter a physical, residential street address.
Households can ony have one Lifeline-subsidized service at any given time. Consumers ARE allowed to cancel their Lifeline service with one provider in order to sign up with another Lifeline provider.