You may be familiar with some of the federal benefits offered in Texas, but did you know that you can get a free phone and low-cost phone service? The Lifeline Program, also known as the Obama Phone program, offers cheap phone service, including internet access, to low-income residents. The Lifeline Program can help your budget, especially when combined with other Texas benefits.
Lifeline phone service is offered by private companies, including most major cell phone providers. Fortunately, these participating companies usually offer a free cell phone to those who qualify.
What is the purpose of the Lifeline Obama Phone program?
The Lifeline Program aims to assist low-income Americans by providing them with low-cost phone service. While beneficiaries can use the phone for any purpose, the program makes service available to ensure that beneficiaries are equipped to handle emergencies, schoolwork, job searches and other primary needs.
Who is eligible for government cell phone benefits?
If you receive or qualify for Texas Section 8 Housing benefits, Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), then you are automatically eligible to participate in the Lifeline Obama Phone program. Anyone who has an income that is at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty line qualifies for the program.
What does the Lifeline Program offer?
Currently, Obama Phone beneficiaries pay a discounted rate for a phone plan that offers a minimum of 500 minutes of voice talk, 500 MB of data usage and 3G Mobile Broadband speed. Beneficiaries can also use the government phone to access WiFi. The Lifeline Program’s minimum service standards are constantly getting better. By the end of 2017, the minimums for allowable minutes and data usage will both increase.
How do I apply for the Obama Phone program?
Candidates can apply for a government cell phone plan through an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier, such as AT&T, T-Mobile or another participating service provider. If you already receive Texas benefits such as Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), SSI or Section 8, you simply need to provide your eligibility notice or another document proving that you receive benefits. If you do not have these documents yet, you can instead provide an income statement or tax return.