How To Get Free Cell Phone For Disabled On Social Security

A free cell phone and plan can be of great help to the disabled since their condition makes it virtually impossible to work and meet their daily needs, including paying bills. While the disabled are mostly on the social security disability benefits, this does not make it easier for them to make ends meet, especially for those suffering from a serious disability. If you are in this category, one of your entitled benefits includes a free cell phone for disabled on social security.

Lifeline Assistance is a program under the Federal Communications Commission, which provides affordable communications services to low-income individuals. One of the services under the program is a discounted or free cell phone service. Since this program only helps qualified individuals, we are going to help you understand how to get a free government phone for disabled on social security.

How To Qualify A Free Cell Phone For Disabled on Social Security

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in four American adults has a disability preventing them from normal life functions, including working for a stable income. Considering the $771 maximum supplemental security income, the statistics are astonishing.  Therefore, applying for disability benefits such as social security disability insurance notwithstanding, you are still going to find a hard time paying your monthly bills.

Today, cell phone services are an essential part of your monthly expenses, though they can turn out to be expensive. If your disability benefits cannot pay all the monthly bills, stay put. We are going to show you how to obtain a free government cell phone for disabled on social security.

Lifeline program continues providing a free phone for low income individuals. Being disabled on social security disability benefits qualifies you among the low-income people, in which the government-backed program offers free or discounted phone services. The FCC supports this program by funding a small fee for every wireless bill, which is often referred to as the Universal Service Fund charge. However, is that all you need to qualify for the program? Certainly not.

free cell phone for disabled on social security

There are several ways to qualify for a free cell phone for disabled on social security. Here are the requirements that will automatically qualify you for the Lifeline program:

  • Your income should not exceed that of the federal poverty index, or limited to 135% of the guidelines. However, it is also important to check the guidelines in your state, since some have higher limits.
  • Disabled people who receive supplemental security income can qualify for the free phone service.
  • Participating in the supplemental nutrition assistance program as a person with a disability is an automatic qualification to the lifeline assistance program.
  • If you receive temporary assistance for needy families because of a disability, you also stand to gain from lifeline support for affordable communications.

From the foregoing, official government disability approval is not the only requirement for qualification. You need to check whether your income meets the eligibility criteria for a free phone and basic service. A good rule of thumb is checking with the Social Security department to see if you qualify for disability benefits. This information is usually available on their website.

How To Apply For Free Wireless Service With A Disability

After determining that you qualify for a free cell phone and service, the next important thing is to sign up for a free wireless service. This means following specific steps to apply for a free government phone. To do that, you need to locate a provider operating in your region or state. It is as simple as visiting the Lifeline support online platform. From the website, you can:

  • Locate a local Lifeline provider
  • Determine the documents will be provided to prove your eligibility
  • Access help on changing providers
  • Obtain assistance with technical issues

Qualifying individuals must go through a four-step procedure with their respective companies to get a free cell phone for disabled on social security. You can qualify through your total household income or a government assistance program.

Proving eligibility for Lifeline support may require you to use the following:

  • An award letter or your participation card in any of these government-sponsored programs:
  • SNAP
  • Medicaid
  • Other specific programs including the Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance and TTANF
  • Tax returns or pay stub proving your income level

By participating in one of the government-backed programs, it makes it easier and quicker to begin the process of getting a free cell phone service.

What Kind Of Free Phone And Service Do You Get?

The first thing most people want to know is the kind of phone they can get from Lifeline Assistance providers. The type of phone often depends on the cell phone provider serving your area. In most cases, you will get a basic free government smartphone, which supports calling, texts, as well as limited applications and browsing functions.

However, just because a Lifeline assistance provider is offering smartphones does not mean that the device will give you a robust online experience you are hoping for. For the most part, Lifeline companies offer feature phones or basic phones. The devices come with the ability to send pictures in text messages and access social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook. You require a data plan to do all that, without which you can only send basic text messages.

Essentially, the available smartphones are refurbished outmoded phones like the iPhone 4 or its equivalent Android device. Nonetheless, such a device should serve the needs of most internet users. About your monthly service, that will vary from one provider to the next. Here are the 10 most popular carriers with their offers:

1. American Assistance

The American Assistance is a full nationwide carrier under the American Broadband and Telecommunications brand. Previously only available to California residents, the company is currently offering Lifeline Assistance services to 16 other states, including Rhode Island, Colorado, Kentucky, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Hawaii among others.

What you get

  • A free smartphone
  • 500 minutes free monthly voice
  • 500 free monthly text messages
  • 1 GB monthly data

If you qualify for a free cell phone service from American Assistance, there are no monthly fees, no signing contracts, and no purchases to make. However, you can buy additional minutes, texts, and data on top of their free offer.

2. Easy Wireless

The Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kentucky based Lifeline Assistance provider carry some of the best free offers for qualifying individuals.

What you get

  • 1000 minutes of free talk-time per month
  • 1000 texts for free every month
  • Free lifeline cell phone

However, if you are looking for free monthly data, you will not find it with Easy Wireless.

3. Infiniti Mobile

Infiniti Mobile joins the list of prominent Lifeline Assistance cell phone carriers that offers services in seven states including Oklahoma, Georgia, Nevada, Vermont, Maryland, Wisconsin, and South Carolina. However, they carry a small fee of $1 for their two plans.

What you get

The Oklahoma Lifeline 1000 Plus

  • 1500 minutes of talk-time per month
  • 1700 texts every month
  • 500 MB monthly data

Oklahoma Lifeline Unlimited Plan

  • Unlimited voice minutes every month
  • Unlimited monthly texts
  • 5 GB monthly data

These two plans cost $1 per month each, with no smartphone offer.

4. DartPhone

DartPhone is one of the smallest carriers under the FCC discounted cell phone program. However, they carry excellent deals for Oklahoma residents where it offers Lifeline Assistance services. For a $1 monthly fee, the company avails of two cell phone plans.

What you get

General Lifeline Plan

  • Unlimited monthly messages
  • Unlimited voice calls every month

The DartPhone 1000+ Data Plan

  • 1000 monthly voice minutes
  • 2000 text messages per month
  • 50 MB monthly data

5. TelAlaska

As their name suggests, the cell phone provider only serves qualifying Lifeline Assistance individuals based in Alaska State.

What you get

  • Free unlimited texts every month
  • 400 minutes long-distance calls for free per month
  • Voicemail

There are no free smartphone or data offers from TelAlaska. Moreover, you can only their free calls and texts on the TelAlaska network.

6. Assist Wireless

Assist Wireless comes with expanded coverage to include the states of Maryland, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Missouri. For Oklahoma residents, the state regulations require a $1 monthly fee from all the qualifying lifeline assistance customers. However, the program remains free in the remaining four states.

What you get

  • 1000 free texts or voice calls per month
  • Discounted brick phone, smartphone, flip phone, or data phone

Paying $6.20 per month can avail of monthly-unlimited talk-time.

7. Assurance Wireless

Assurance Wireless is a Sprint Nextel brand, and one of the few Lifeline Assistance carriers covering the highest number of states. Currently, their offers cover 40 states inclusive of the District of Columbia. They are attracting new customers by providing special bonus offerings in their areas of coverage.

What you get

New customers’ first 4-month deal

  • 500 free monthly voice minutes
  • Unlimited monthly texting

Regular offer

  • 250 free monthly voice minutes
  • Unlimited monthly text messages

This Lifeline Assistance provider also carries a California state-only cell phone plan. This is probably the best FCC free cell phone deal you will find in America.

What you get

  • Free unlimited monthly texts
  • Free unlimited monthly talk-time

The only downside is that they do not have any offers for monthly data and smartphones.

8. AT&T Mobility

Operating under AT&T infrastructure, you can expect to get the best network coverage across the country from this MVNO. Previously restricted to Alaska State, the Lifeline assistance company has grown to reach 15 other states including Alabama, Idaho, Michigan, Texas, Mississippi, Virginia, Kentucky, Washington, North Dakota, and Oregon among others.

What you get

  • A free cell phone
  • 1200 free anytime minutes
  • Free national long-distance calls

Lifeline customers in Arkansas state are subject to a monthly fee of $1. If you prefer text messages, you will have to find another lifeline assistance provider in your state because they are not available with ATT Mobility’s free cell phone plan offers.

9. Safelink Wireless

Safelink Wireless ranks as the biggest and oldest Lifeline Assistance phone service providers with coverage in 38 states, inclusive of Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. The company carries a great sign-up bonus for qualifying low-income customers.

What you get

Sign-up Bonus Offer

  • New customers sign up for 1000 free text messages and 500 free voice minutes for the first three months.

Regular Offer

As one of the largest Lifeline assistance companies, Safelink should be providing a free monthly data offer. Besides, the company does not offer to Bring Your Own Phone Program to its lifeline customers.

10. The GCI Communication Corporation

GCI comes as one of the biggest communication companies based in Alaska. The cell phone carrier collaborates with other subsidiary companies to offer discounted cell phone services to the residents of Alaska since the state requires customers to pay a $1 monthly fee.

What you get

  • Unlimited monthly texts
  • Unlimited in-network voice minutes every month
  • 1 GB monthly data

With its sister companies, GCI falls short of our expectations by not availing of free cell phones and monthly data offers.

Discounts On Cell Phones And Service For People With A Disability

The major wireless providers in the US participate in the Lifeline program. For that reason, you should consider applying your benefits to one of the four primary carriers including Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint Mobile, and T-Mobile, if your disability qualifies you to the free cell phone government program. These wireless providers usually have a $9.25 monthly basic package catering to all Lifeline customers. This is a great discount if you compare to what the companies charge on a regular basis.

How To Save Money If You Don’t Qualify For Lifeline

The lifeline assistance program is a great relief to low-income individuals, including those living with a disability. However, if you do not qualify for a discounted rate or free phone on the wireless service, it does not stop you from saving money. Here are several other ways you can save on your device as well as its cell phone plan.

Buying a Refurbished Phone

Purchasing a refurbished or used phone can save you more than 50% of the retail costs of a new device. However, we recommend shopping for refurbished phones from reputable sellers including Amazon, at incredibly affordable prices. Additionally, this allows you to own the phone outright. There are no eligibility requirements to fulfill, and you can take it to the best carrier of your choosing.

Using MVNO to Save Money on Cell Phone Plans

Mobile virtual network operators do not have their own infrastructure. They often rely on the networks of the big four carriers. Since MVNO’s invest little on the networks they use, most of them carry cheap cell phone plans. For that reason, these cell phone providers are an excellent way for persons with disabilities to save as much as 50% off the cost of the major cell phone carrier plans. Besides, you will still avail of the same reliable service you are used to.

Bottom Line 

Having a disability can prevent you from meaningfully, earning a stable income to sustain your needs. For that reason, you should be careful with your cash. One of the best ways to save money is by applying for a free cell phone for disabled on social security. If you are eligible for the Lifeline assistance program, consider choosing between the discounted rates from big four mobile carriers or free MVNOs. However, if you do not qualify, purchasing a deeply discounted refurbished smartphone and picking an affordable mobile virtual network operator plan can still save you some dollars.