The residents of Louisiana, Arkansas, Illinois, Oklahoma, Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Washington, Rhode Island, Nevada, Iowa, Texas and West Virginia can now take the benefit of the Lifeline program. Lifeline is a federal program that aims at making affordable mobile phone services for everyone across the nation. This government cell phone service is available all across the nation but the qualifying criteria are differ slightly among some states.
For the above mentioned states, the qualifying criteria to get the free cellular phone services state that the residents must be participating in a government assistance program or have a household income at or below 135% of the Federal poverty level. The qualifying assistance programs include Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps), Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Medicaid, National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Program, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribally Administered TANF, Food Distribution Program on Indian Reserves, or Head Start.
Along with the government free cell phone service, the applicant gets the basic facilities of making long distance and local calls, sending and receiving text messages, accessing 911, directory assistance and voicemail. The free plan comes with a fixed number of minutes but the user can buy additional minutes at discounted rates.
The best option to get the service is to contact an online service providers. The only thing that you have to take care of is the compliance with the qualifying criteria for your state. At the most, you would have to fill out an online order form and submit proof of your eligibility to apply for the Lifeline program. This program comes more or less without any costs. However, there are a few charges in certain states. Like, the Oklahoma residents have to pay $1 per month for the 1000-minute plan and the residents in Texas have to pay a $30 activation fee.