According to a census poll by the Government, there are close to 50 million seniors in the United States. Some run businesses, others are still employed, others have retired and seem to be enjoying the retirement’s benefits pretty well. Most of these seniors have access to smartphones but there is a small population without access to both a flip phone and a smartphone. In such situations, the Federal Government tries to clear out this digital divide by giving free phones for seniors.
The Federal Government works together with lifeline providers to provide free government phones to seniors who are eligible for it. In the past, this program did not focus more on seniors but over the years they have initiated several platforms for seniors to benefit from it. With services like AARP cell phone discounts for seniors, you are assured seniors will always have access to communication services.
If you are a senior and you happen to be in low income or lack income all, then this article is for you. We will demystify the whole process in which you can free phones and plans in a very simple way. Read below to learn more!!
How can seniors qualify for free cell phones?
The eligibility requirements are pretty much similar to a normal process of getting a free government phone. You can either qualify through participation in Government Assistance program or if your income is below the federal poverty income level. To qualify through the income, you need to participate in the federal Assistance program such as;
- Supplementary security income
- Food stamps
- Food distribution program on Indian reservations
- Veteran’s pension and survivor’s benefit
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Tribal head start
- Tribally administered temporary assistance for needy families.
Another way to qualify is through income whereby if the income is below 135% of the federal income level cap.
How do seniors apply for the free cell phone?
The application process is very simple and similar to the application of a free Government phone. Below is a step by step guide to help you getting started with the free cell phone and plan for seniors;
Step 1: Choose a service provider
There are many service providers whom seniors can consider to use their services. Also, most service lifeline providers do not issue free phones and plans based on gender as an evaluation process. This makes it easier for anyone who is above 18 years old to access free Government phone services.
First, before you choose a service provider, make sure to call the lifeline office near you to know precisely which service providers offer free cell phones to seniors. Some of the lifeline providers you can inquire and are likely to give you a free phone include;
- Safelink wireless
- American Assistance
- Assurance wireless
- Qlink wireless
The service providers mentioned above are the best when it comes to lifeline services and have a wide area of coverage.
Step 2: Check if you qualify
Earlier in this article, we talked about how you can qualify for free cell phones. You can either qualify through participation in lifeline assistance programs or if your income is below 135% of the federal income levels.
You are also required to submit some documents to prove that you are eligible. The required documents vary by each service provider. You will learn of the documents required when filling the application form.
Step 3: Fill in the application details
Over recent years, the application process has become very simple and you can easily apply directly from the company’s website. In the past, you were to apply for the free cell phone plan via mail and the process would be very tiresome.
The application forms may vary with each service provider so make sure to check out their website to learn more about the application process. You should also attach the eligibility documents on the application form.
If you are applying on their website, you can scan the forms and upload them on their website or send them an email. Ensure that the documents are legit to avoid any issues or to be denied access to the free Government phone.
Step 4: Check your mail
If everything is in place, you will receive your free phone via mail. You can also collect the free phone directly at the service provider’s retail store.
Step 5: Activate the device
The activation process is very simple. Some phones may come already reactivated while others our may be required to activate them by yourself.
If the phone is not activated, in most cases, you are required to call your service provider to activate the phone for you. You are not required to pay any money as activation fees. All the services are offered for free.
Which free cell phone plans are available for seniors?
The free cell phone plans for seniors vary in each service provider. In most cases, the plans come with the following allocations of talk, text and data units;
- 250 minutes at the minimum
- Unlimited texts
- 50 MB of data
However, if you find a good service provider, the talk, text and data units may jump up to 1000, unlimited and up to 2 GB of data respectively.
Which free cell phones are available for seniors?
There is a wide variety of free cell phones for seniors which you can get. However, the phones vary with each service provider. Luckily, all lifeline phones being offered are smartphones. If you are not proficient enough with smartphones, some service providers offer free digital training sessions to equip you with the right skills on using the smartphone.
Having a cell phone is considered a basic necessity due to the current digital transformation across the country. Many services such as paying bills, accessing Government services can be done straight from your smartphone. So, if you are a senior and don’t have access to a smartphone, you should consider getting one today from the best free government phone provider near you!