Are you aware that you can receive a free cell phone from Lifeline providers if you reside in the state of Oklahoma? They’re called “Lifeline phones,” and it’s easy to qualify to get one. First, you’ll need to fill out a short application and then simply wait for your free phone to arrive. The Lifeline phone service is a special Federal Communication Commission (FCC) program for people who live in Oklahoma
Having a smartphone in today’s world is practically a must-have. Depending on where you live in Oklahoma, you may find that you can only have a home phone if you bundle it with Internet and cable services. The cost of a home phone can be quite high, but you might think that it costs less than buying a smartphone would. A smartphone lets you stay connected with your friends and family. You can download apps that let you play games and watch movies and TV shows as well as use your favorite sites on the web. As long as you qualify, you can get a free phone from the government and use the Lifeline Phone Service with it.
Do You Qualify for a Free Smartphone?
To qualify for Lifeline phones, you need to meet program or eligibility factors. You qualify for a free phone if you participate in different programs offered by the government such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides funds to feed the hungry. Those who qualify for food stamps can often get a free phone, too. You also qualify for a free phone if you participate in any of the following government programs:
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) General Assistance
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
Lifeline phones also go to veterans who receive a pension from the military and the spouses of veterans who passed away. If you take part in the Tribal Head Start program to help your kids, you may qualify for a Lifeline phone, too.
Even if you do not receive assistance from the federal or state government, you might still qualify for a Lifeline phone service. First, you need review the income guidelines. If you live on your own in Oklahoma and support yourself, you can get a free phone as long as you make $12,490 per year. This limit increases to $16,910 per year for homes with two people. If you have more people living in your home, you can add $4,420 for each person. As long as your income does not climb above that amount, you will meet the income restriction.
Getting your free phone requires more than just eligibility, however. You will also need to go through a few steps and provide documents to prove that you meet one of those restrictions and that you are who you say you are. Documents the government will accept as identity validation include:
- Driver’s license
- Valid passport
- Valid resident or alien card
- Birth certificate
- Social Security card
You can also present documents that show you qualify for government assistance and receive help such as the discharge papers you received after leaving the military. Many recipients of the free cell phone program also use the benefits statements that show the benefits they get from one of these programs.
Choosing a Cell Phone Plan
Once you determine that you qualify for a Lifeline program, you need to choose the right plan. Lifeline offers both tribal and nontribal plans that cost just a few dollars each month. The basic nontribal plan includes 50MB of data, 500 text messages, and 1,000 minutes of talk time each month.
If you like sending and receiving text messages, you can move up a tier. The second-tier plan comes with 1,000 minutes of talk time and 50MB of data but includes unlimited text messaging for just $1 a month. One of the more popular Oklahoma nontribal plans costs $6 a month but gives you 1,000 minutes of talk time, unlimited text messaging, and an impressive 500MB of data. The most expensive plan gives you unlimited data and text messaging along with 1,000 minutes of talk time for $10 a month.
Many people choose Lifeline because they can top off their plans each month. This comes in handy if you find that you reached your data cap faster than expected or if you want to talk or use more text messages. Add an extra 100MB of data for $4, 500MB of data for $12, or 1GB of data for $15. If you need to refill your talk time, add 100 minutes for $4, 400 minutes for $8, or 1,000 minutes for $15. There are also text message refills available of $5 for 1,000 texts, $8 for 2,000 texts, or $12 for 4,000 texts. The best deal is the combo refill. For just $25 extra, you get 100 extra minutes of talk time, 1,000 text messages, and 1GB of data. These refills are great for those months when you take a vacation or spend time away from home and when you need to deal with emergencies.
Those who qualify for a tribal plan can also purchase different packages from Lifeline. The free plan includes unlimited talk and text messages with 4GB of data, while the $1-per-month plan increases the data cap to 4.5GB. Cap refers to the total amount of data that you can use before you can no longer use this feature. There is also a $5 per month plan that comes with unlimited text messages and talk time with a full 5GB of data. With the tribal plans, you can add 100MB, 500MB, or 1GB of data for $4, $12, or $15.
Getting Your Phone
Chances are good that you read the above information but still want to know exactly how you can get your free phone. When you choose Lifeline, you can get that phone online. All you need to do is click on the Apply Now section and upload your information. You’ll also need to enter your email address and zip code to make sure that you live in a qualifying state. Free phones are available for those who live in Oklahoma City, Midwest City, Broken Arrow, Tulsa, and other regions. You can check the full list of qualifying cities through Assist Wireless before you apply. This allows you to register online and fill out all the steps needed to get your Lifeline phone.
Once you enter your location, you can choose the plan that best meets your needs and then read through the terms of service. You must agree to follow those terms, including paying your bill on time each month and agreeing that you meet the restrictions for a free phone. Providing proof that you qualify is the next step. You can use any of the documents and other paperwork listed above. The next step allows you to pick the phone you want. You can then have that phone shipped right to your home address.
Assist Wireless Local Locations
Not everyone has a strong Internet connection and the ability to use it daily. That is why Assist Wireless also allows you to visit local shops to learn more about the free program. You can see if you qualify for and start the process of getting a phone, too. There are more than 20 locations across the state and six in Tulsa alone. You can use the site and enter your current location or zip code to see which locations are closest to you. Ace Cash Express can provide you with the same information and offer some help, too.
Types of Phones
A big question is what type of smartphone you can get. Assist Wireless currently offers an LG phone that comes with a good built-in camera and all the storage you need. As new phones become available, the phones that you can get through this program will change. Lifeline phones include models from some of the top manufacturers. You also have the option of bringing your own device and enrolling it into the program. To qualify, the device must work on either the Sprint or T-Mobile network, which means that it must be compatible with a CDMA or GSM network. You can also find the IMEI number on your phone and enter it in a box on the Assist Wireless website to make sure it is compatible.
Enrolling your device in the Lifeline program allows you to save all the phone numbers already on your phone and to retain anything else that you saved, including family photos and videos. If you save those files to the phone’s SIM card, you can easily transfer the data to your new phone or home computer. When you bring a device to Assist Wireless, you get one of two bonuses, too. Tribal members receive a $15 credit on their new accounts, while nontribal members receive 1GB of free data. If you aren’t sure if your phone qualifies and/or cannot find the IMEI number, you can bring that device to a nearby location and have the experts there check it for you.
Reasons to Choose Assist Wireless
Assist Wireless knows that you have many options in regard to providers that work with the Lifeline program but want you to feel confident choosing them. With 23 different locations in Oklahoma, you can easily find one in your city or nearby. There are plans to add even more locations in the future. You can enroll online or in-person and work with the customer service department to make sure you pick the best plan and the right phone.
There are also some great perks for customers, including a payment match that gives you a free month of service when you pay your bills on time and a program that gives you a $25 credit each time you refer a friend who signs up for a plan. You also get a free gift when you hit your anniversary each year and a credit on your birthday. Another nice feature is the app you can download to your new smartphone. This app lets you keep track of how much data, minutes, and texts you used to know when you need more.
The federal government designed its free cell phone program to help those from low-income households get new phones. This program is open to those who meet income restrictions and those who participate in different programs. To get your free government phone, work with Assist Wireless to see if you qualify and to sign up for the right monthly tribal or nontribal plan for you.