There are several programs in existence available to help pay your phone bill. Many individual cell phone service providers offer discounted rates to low-income customers and senior citizens. There are also government programs available offering free or reduced-rate cell phones and cell phone plans for qualified individuals.
The Lifeline program is a federal program used to reduce monthly landline, cell phone or internet charges. Qualified individuals are permitted to use Lifeline to reduce the cost of either phone or internet bills, but not both at the same time. There is also a limit to one Lifeline account per household. The major qualifying factor is household income being calculated at 135 percent or less than the federal poverty guideline.
Individuals already qualified for or receiving other certain government benefits automatically qualify for Lifeline phone bill assistance. Lifeline applicants already enrolled in SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA), Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit or Tribal programs automatically qualify for Lifeline.
Proof in the form of official documents or letters is required.
It is also possible to qualify if your child or qualified dependent is enrolled in any of the above-listed government programs. Tribal applicants eligible for Lifeline also qualify for the Link-Up program, which pays activation fees for new cell phone and internet services.
Applying for Lifeline can be done online using the Lifeline National Verifier or via paper application through the U.S. postal service. Applying online may require additional documentation to be provided in order to verify identity and eligibility. There is also a way to find participating phone companies and apply directly through them.
Various cell phone service providers participate in the Lifeline program, including Assurance Wireless and Verizon Wireless. AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile, Safelink Wireless, CenturyLink, SafeLink Wireless and hundreds more companies are all active participants in the Lifeline program. Once approved for Lifeline, $9.25 is deducted from each qualified monthly phone bill.