Seniors are always at a risk of the unknown due to their frail health. The risks are more among seniors with low incomes as they lack some of the services that can help avert the accidents. Since most of the seniors stay alone, they rely on emergency services for their survival. Unfortunately, with low income, some seniors may find it problematic to access emergency services. Government and some phone service providers have come in handy to help low-income seniors access the emergency services when they need them with free cell phones for seniors. Free cell phones enable seniors to keep in touch with their family members and seek assistance in emergencies.
How to Qualify for Free Cell Phone
However, you must meet a few restrictions for you to qualify for the government assistance phone program. The program is meant to help vulnerable individuals, and thus, not everyone can be qualified to get a free cell phone. If you have financial problems, you are most likely eligible for a free cell phone plan. The plans come with a free mobile phone, unlimited texts and loads of call minutes at absolutely no cost. Service providers will check your eligibility information, but since the service is government-sponsored, the eligibility criteria are almost similar. You are more likely to meet the criteria for a free cell phone if you are participating in any of the subsequent federal support programs.
- Federal public housing assistance
- The supplemental nutrition assistance program
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Bureau of Indian Affairs general assistance (BIA)
- Tribal head start
- Food distribution program on Indian reservations
- Veterans Pension and Survivor’s Benefit
Qualifying for the free cell phone program through being a participant of other assistance programs is easy as you do not have to go through the challenging total household income. Nevertheless, you can still qualify using the Total Household Income criteria as long as you meet the set requirements. Total Household Income refers to every income received by all people living in your household. The income includes every earning with a few exceptions that include military housing, student financial aid, cost-of-living allowances and payments from occasional small jobs like lawn mowing and babysitting. Your income should be at least 135-percent below the Federal Poverty Guidelines to be eligible for the program through the Total Household Income.
However, you should confirm with your local providers as some carriers in Michigan, New Jersey, Florida, and Texas have different figures, with some asking for 150 percent.
Top 10 Providers of Free Cell Phone for Senior Citizens
1. Access Wireless
As one of the fastest Lifeline program providers, Access Wireless is a popular choice for households that qualify for free cell phones for seniors. Launched in 2011, the i-wireless operated program offers free cell phones and monthly plans in various States like California, New York, Iowa, Florida, Wisconsin, Texas, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Illinois and Indiana, among other States. The service is available in many States, and the list keeps growing. You should check with the provider to see whether your State is currently covered. The service runs on the Sprint network, which offers subscribers the benefit of nation-wide network coverage. Access Wireless tops up your account with free data, minutes and texts at the beginning of every month. You can use the free minutes for local calls or long domestic calls.
The service is a no-contract subscription, which means that you can enjoy texting, browsing and calling with no bills or additional fees. If you are out of minutes, you can continue calling using Access Wireless top-up cards. The top-up cards come with additional benefits that you will also enjoy. Furthermore, you can get additional minutes by participating in Kroger reward promotion. The promotion rewards you with 20 minutes every time you spend 100 bucks. You may also get more minutes by referring a friend. A friend referral gives you 1000 minutes.
2. Assist Wireless
If you are living in Maryland, Arkansas, Missouri, Minnesota or Oklahoma, you can enjoy one of the cheapest Assist Wireless plans and free cell phones. The free cell phones for seniors are available in Arkansas and Maryland, but the company plans to introduce them in other states. Assist Wireless offers cheap plans that start for as low as $1 in select States. You also have a choice of different plans. In Missouri, Arkansas, Minnesota, and Maryland, the company offers two packages, namely Free Plan one and two. Plan one gives you 500 MB data, 1000 minutes and 1000 texts. Plan two offers you 1000 minutes and 500 texts.
In Oklahoma, the company offers tribal and non-tribal plans. The free tribal plan gives you unlimited texts, minutes and 4GB data. The $1 tribal plan comes with unlimited talk minutes, texts and 4.5 GB of data while the $5 plan comes with 5 GB of data, unlimited texts and unlimited minutes. The non-tribal plans include the free plan that gives you 1000 minutes, 500 texts and 50 MBs of data and the $1 plan with 500 MB, 100 minutes and unlimited texts. In the non-tribal options, you also get $6 and $10 plans with the $10 plan offering 1GB data, unlimited texts and 1000 minutes. The company further offers additional top-up plans for all states.
3. True Wireless
Serving the states of Arkansas, Texas, Maryland, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island, True Wireless is a feasible option for qualified seniors looking for a bigger and better network with unlimited service for urban and rural settings. The company has four plans that vary across the states and thus, you should check with the company for your local offers. Nevertheless, in Rhode Island, Texas, Maryland and Arkansas, the free service comes with a free cell phone, 5 MB data and 250 minutes. However, every message you send or receive will cost you one voice minute. The unused minutes will not roll over to the next minute, and you must send a text or call every 60 days to keep the service. In the casual plan, you get a free cell phone, 50 MB data and 1000 minutes for $5 per month. The plan features call forwarding, Caller ID and 3-Way calling.
In Oklahoma, the True Wireless free plan gives you 1750 minutes, 5MB data, 2000 text messages and phone for $1. The casual plan has 250 MB, 2000 text messages, and a free Android smartphone for $5 per month. The plans come with call forwarding, caller ID and 3-way calling. Other plans you can access include the social plan for $10 and the entertainment plan for $20 per month.
4. Tag Mobile
Tag Mobile offers free cell phones for seniors who meet eligibility criteria. You can qualify for the service if you are already enrolled in a government assistance program or if your household income is at 135-percent of the benchmark set by the federal poverty index. The Tag Mobile lifeline cell phone program is available in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, California, Kentucky, Iowa, Louisiana, and Maine. You can also apply for the service in Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Nevada, Texas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, South Carolina and West Virginia.
The Tag Mobile plans to provide nationwide coverage with no contracts and bills. The plans also feature voicemail, call waiting and caller ID. If you are in California, you will get a free smartphone, unlimited text, unlimited minutes and 500MB LTE data for three months that increases to 1GB data from the fourth month. You also have a choice of unlimited texting, unlimited talk and 3GB LTE data. In the other states, you get 1000 free minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB LTE data. If you need extra minutes and data, you can use the top-up plans. With the Tag Mobile data plans, you can get 100MB, 500MB, and 1GB for $4.95, $7.50 and $10, respectively. For additional minutes, you can get 250 minutes and unlimited minutes for $5 and $10 correspondingly with unlimited texts.
5. Q Link Wireless
If you are looking for a service with national coverage, the Q Link Wireless has one of the biggest coverage reaching out to more than 280 million people. The service makes it easy for the elderly to access the lifeline program by giving a new smartphone. The service also allows senior citizens to bring their own phones with free phone activation. The company goes beyond the norm by offering those who qualify with a free smartphone and monthly plans. The free Q Link Wireless plan comes with 1000 nationwide minutes, unlimited worldwide text messaging, and 3GB data. The Q Link Wireless unlimited text messaging service lets you send pictures and videos to any part of the world.
The company refills the free minutes, data and texts on the first day of every month. However, you will have to keep the phone turned on during the first few days of the month for your account to refill successfully. You will also need to use your phone at least once in a month to keep it active. Q Link Service requires you to use your free data, send a text or place / receive a call to keep your account active. In addition to the free minutes and data, you also get many add-ons with the Q Link Wireless. The company offers several add-on bundles, minutes, data and international plans. With $3, you can get a bundle with high-speed data upgrade, unlimited texts, unlimited minutes and free international calls. With a $5 bundle, you get all the benefits of a $3 bundle plus 1GB data.
6. American Assistance
If you are a California resident, you should consider applying for the lifeline program with the American Assistance. The company has one of the best plans for California residents. The plan offers free cell phones for seniors in California and 4GB data, unlimited minutes and unlimited texts. For non-California residents, the plan comes with a smartphone, unlimited text messages, 500 minutes, and 3GB data. However, you will have to pay a free smartphone activation fee of $25.
The American Assistance Lifeline plan also comes with several credit card top-up plans for minutes and data. If you need additional minutes, you can get 100 minutes and texts for $4.49 or 250 minutes and text messages for $6.99. Other options are 100 messages for $.99, 100 minutes for $3.49, 200 minutes for $5.99, and 500 minutes for $9.49. The data plans start at $4.49 for 100 MB to $44.99 for 5GB.
7. Verizon Wireless
As one of the best provider companies, you can be sure of the call quality and connectivity. With Verizon Wireless you will not have to worry about the service availability as their network is available nationally. Nevertheless, the service is offered in New York, Iowa, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. However, for its quality and reliability, you may have to pay a premium to use the Verizon service. Verizon does not offer free plans, but it offers discounts to eligible individuals. The company provides two lifeline plans of $25 and $19.99.
Although the plans do not come with free cell phones for seniors Verizon offers, you are to use any Smartphone as long as it is compatible with the service. Moreover, the company has discount offers for some of the best Smartphone devices to eligible individuals. You may be able to get a discount on phones like Apple iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, and LG V30, among others. The $25 plan comes with 1000 minutes and unlimited local mobile minutes. The access fee for the $25 plan is $15 and $10.74 for Home Connect plan, but residents of federally recognized tribal lands can get the monthly access fee exempted.
8. SafeLink Wireless
Safelink Wireless is one of the few lifeline providers available nationally. The company offers government-subsidized plans and cell phones to all those who qualify. With its strong national network, the company is preferred for its reliability and quality of service. Applying for the free cell phones for senior citizens at Safelink is effortless thanks to a step-by-step application video guide that makes your sign up process effortless. Safelink offers some of the best free cell phone offers with free talk, data and texts.
The Safelink free cell phone offers vary from state to state and thus, you should use your Zip code to look at the offers available in your area. Nevertheless, you can expect to receive a free Smartphone, 1000 free minutes and 1GB monthly data. If you would like to continue using your phone, you can receive a free SIM card, 1000 free minutes and 1.5GB of free data. For California residents, the Safelink free plan comes with unlimited talk and text as well as 500 MB data.
As a nationwide wireless pay-as-you-go service provider, TruConnect seeks to provide communication services to all. It currently offers free cell phones for seniors in California, Arkansas, Iowa, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Kansas, Georgia, Kentucky and Colorado. The service is also available in Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Nevada, Missouri, Texas, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. Through its Lifeline plan, TruConnect gives you free monthly minutes, texts and data, letting you communicate at no cost.
In California, the free plan comes with a free 5-inch Smartphone, unlimited talk and text, 3GB data and free unlimited calls to select countries. For all other states, TruConnect offers 1000 minutes, 3GB data, unlimited texts and free unlimited calls to select countries.
10. Terracom Wireless
Terracom Wireless offers its free cell phones for seniors program in nine states that include Wisconsin, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Washington, Texas, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Maine, Maryland, Iowa, and Oklahoma. Other states include Minnesota, Louisiana, Kansas, Illinois, Arizona, Colorado, Arkansas and Indiana. The Terracom Wireless plans vary from one state to another and thus, you should use your zip code to get the available offers. Nevertheless, all plans are completely free and come with an option to use Broadband Internet Access Services (BIAS) with a compatible phone and data upgrade.
In Oklahoma and Washington, the residents are open for tribal offers that come with a Smartphone, 1000 minutes, unlimited texts and 1GB data. In Kansas, you can choose between two plans that offer 1380 minutes and 920 minutes. The plans also come with unlimited texts and 1GB of data.
How to Choose the Best Provider of Free Cell Phones for Senior Citizens
Today, seniors are spoilt for choices when it comes to choosing the best lifeline program. The increased number of providers has brought flexibility as seniors can choose between different plans, providers and add-ons. Some of the things you should consider includes:
Different Lifeline providers operate in different states. Although there are a few national providers, most companies operate in several states and thus, you should look for a provider operating in your state. You should also ensure that the provider has a strong network that ensures reliable service indoors and outdoors. You should also consider the speed of the internet if you intend to use the service for your internet connection. A 4G LTE is preferable if you have a Smartphone, but a 3G network will also work if you have a feature phone.
Most companies have several plans that give you different bundles. You should look for a bundle that best matches your phone needs. For example, if you are interested in calling, you should look for a plan that offers more minutes. If you spend most of your time online, you should look for a plan that provides huge data plans. Equally, if you have a Smartphone that you would like to continue using, you should make sure that the plan supports your phones. Choosing a program without your phone activation fee will also help you save money. If you do not have a phone, you should look for plans that offer free flip phones for seniors as part of the plan.
Different lifeline providers come with additional features that can be beneficial if used. Some features like referrals give seniors an option to earn extra minutes for referring friends. An autopay feature gives you a discount for an automatic subscription. Other plans come with international call offers that can let you talk to your relatives easily.
Although all lifeline providers offer minutes, data and text, different companies package them differently. While some offer unlimited minutes, others offer free cell phones for seniors as part of their free plan. The best provider depends on individual needs. If you like spending most of your time watching movies or other online services, you should look for a service with a big data offer. If you have relatives in other countries, you should look for a provider who supports international calling. It may also help to look for a plan that comes with affordable add-ons as they give you the option to continue using the service upon the exhaustion of your free offers.