What is the Obama Phone?
Since President Obama has taken office, a lot of attention has been given to the Obama Phone. In all truthfulness, the term “Obama Phone” isn’t the official name of the free government cell phones program. In fact, government assistance for phones has been around since the 80’s under a program called the Federal Lifeline Assistance program.
For people who are living below the poverty guidelines, the Federal Lifeline program exists to provide discounted phone service. Originally, the program provided landlines, but now it has transitioned into cell phones.
So, are there free government cell phones?
The Federal Lifeline program is designed to provide discounted phone services to Americans who are truly in need and are living below the poverty level.
Lifeline Assistance Program Explained
There are two parts to the Lifeline Assistance Program:
1. The Link-Up Program – This service gives eligible low-income consumers up to a $100 discount on the installation of a phone line or activation of a wireless phone for your primary residence.
2. The Lifeline Program – This program gives a discount on monthly wireless (or wired) telephone service for eligible low-income consumers. The program allows one lifeline service per household, so not everyone in your family will have access to a separate discount.
Who Can Get a Free Government Cell Phone?
Consumers in every state are eligible to enroll in the program if they have an income that is at or below 135% of poverty levels. Consumers who participate in any of the following federal programs may also be eligible for the Lifeline program:
- Supplemental Security Income
- Food Stamps
- Section 8 Housing
- Free Lunch Program
- Head Start
How to Get a Free Government Cell Phone
You may qualify to get a free cell phone and 250 free minutes a month through the Government Lifeline program. Over 8 million Americans have already signed up for the program with success.
Understand that the lifeline program is not marketed as the ‘Obama phone’ through the providers. When contacting the following providers, you will be applying to participate in the Lifeline program.
The three main providers for the Lifeline program are: Safelink, Assurance, and ReachOut. Here’s a quick summary of each supplier.
Safelink Wireless Review
Safelink Wireless allows you to purchase more minutes if you go over your monthly free minutes in the month.
- 250 Free Minutes Every Month
- Local & National Long Distance Calling
- Texting Available
- No Contracts or bills
- No Credit Checks
- No Hidden Fees
Assurance Wireless Review
Assurance Wireless also has additional plans for higher minutes and texting each month.
- Free Phone
- 250 Free Minutes Each Month
- 250 Free Texts Each Month
- No Annual Contract
- Nationwide Sprint Coverage
- No Activation Fee
ReachOut Wireless Review
- 250 Free Minutes Each Month
- Phones Starting at $15
- 3 Way Calling
- Text Messages Available
- Caller ID
Free Cell Phones for Seniors?
I heard that there are free phones for seniors? How can seniors get free government cell phones?
This is a very common question, especially with the growing number of seniors who need to stay connected to their family and for emergency purposes.
While there isn’t a specific government program offering a free cell phone to seniors, everyone who qualifies as low-income or below the poverty line is eligible for the Lifeline plan. While there aren’t any cell phone programs for seniors, it doesn’t mean that a senior wouldn’t qualify. Make sure to check with one of the Lifeline providers to see if you qualify.
Also make sure to learn more about the Obama Student Loan Forgiveness Act, which we explain in an article on this site.