Cell phones and smartphones have become a necessity in life that can provide a person with the ability to instantly communicate with others during a time of need. Recently, Assist Wireless has begun working with the government to ensure that all low-income Americans and senior citizens have access to a cell phone through the Universal Service Fund. Those who qualify for the program can receive a free cell phone along with heavy discounts on their monthly wireless service charges. Here is what everyone should know about Assist Wireless along with how to get started applying for this potentially lifesaving service.
Assist Wireless Eligibility Guidelines
Although each state has specific eligibility guidelines, the majority of applicants will be eligible for one the Assist Wireless plans if their household income is at or below 135% of the guidelines for poverty set by a person’s home state or the federal government. Typically, those who currently receive benefits from one of these government assistance programs can qualify:
- Food Stamps
- National School Lunch Program
- Supplemental Security Income
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Head Start (income-based enrollment)
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
How to Apply for the Assist Wireless Program
Interested candidates can apply online to see if they qualify. Those who currently receive government assistance will need to provide documentation of their participation in at least one support federal initiative. Those who are applying based upon their income will need to supply one of the following along with their application:
- Federal, State or Tribal Tax Return from the previous year
- Social Security Benefits Statements
- Paycheck stub or current income statement from employer
- Retirement benefits statement
- Divorce or child support documents
It is preferred that applicants for Assist Wireless free government phones and smarphones provide documentation of one year’s income; however, a person can submit at least three consecutive months worth of income documentation within the previous 12 months to be considered for enrollment in the Lifeline program.
Types of Assist Wireless Plans Available
Assist Wireless Lifeline Plans vary according to the geographic region, yet they all offer significantly reduced costs for service. Those who choose a Lifeline plan will receive a set number of voice and text minutes for either free or a low monthly fee, and subscribers can add additional time as needed at a low rate. The most popular plan is the Lifeline Unlimited Text with Talk and Data, which includes 200 MB of data. The Lifeline Unlimited Voice and Text is also available at Tribal and Non-tribal rates.
Each year, a person will be notified via a text, voice message or mail to remind them that it is time to apply for Assist Wireless recertification. As was required at enrollment, it is only necessary to submit proof of participation in a government assistance program or one’s qualifying income.
Through the Assist Wireless Lifeline Program, low-income individuals and senior citizens can receive free cell phones and affordable plans that can ensure they have access to communication whenever the need arises. Lifeline phones have unlimited access to 911 services, caller I.D., voicemail and live customer service that is a tremendous asset for anyone who qualifies.
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