By now you have likely heard of what a lot of people refer to as the “Obama phone”. Maybe it sounds too good to be true. A free, or low-cost modern cell phone? How can that exist, and if it does, why doesn’t everyone get that rather than paying the exorbitant rates that a lot of cell phone companies charge?
To understand exactly what the “Obama phone” is, it helps to understand a little bit of the history of how it came to exist. There is no government bill or plan that is officially named “Obama phone.” Rather, that is simply the modern iteration of a plan that began all the way back in the 1980s during the Ronald Reagan administration. It was created by the Federal Communications Commission and is called Lifeline phone service. The original intent at that point was to provide free or discounted landline phone service to low-income families. Over the past several decades, and through the various presidential administrations, the plan has grown and changed to keep pace with modern developments and requirements. This leads to the current version colloquially referred to as “Obama phone” which is free or discounted Lifeline service that includes talk, text, and data for those who qualify.
To obtain Lifeline phone service, subscribers must meet certain eligibility requirements. If you do, you can apply for a free or discounted phone and service. The first, and most obvious benefit, is the fact that it allows people who are currently a recipient of any of the approved government assistance programs (such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP/Food Stamps, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit, and other approved state or Tribal programs) to have access to a cell phone and cell service at little or no cost.
For those who qualify for Lifeline, one of the primary benefits of a free or low-cost phone is the phone itself. Obviously, the exact model of the phone is subject to change, but there are great phones available for those who qualify and enroll in the Lifeline plan with Assist Wireless.
Or, if you already have a phone that you prefer to keep and you qualify for Lifeline, you’re not only able to keep the phone you already have but doing so carries with it some additional benefits as well. With the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) plan from Assist Wireless, once you qualify for Lifeline you get to keep your phone, and you’ll get free data as a bonus when you start your new Lifeline phone service.
Speaking of data, what good would a smartphone be without data for the plan? At this time, you can keep your phone, and if you qualify you can get a $15 account credit or 1GB of free data on a Lifeline program. Please note that your phone’s IMEI number needs to be compatible with the Assist networks.
Those are a few of the great benefits, however, there are additional benefits as well. The original reason for creating the Lifeline plan in the 1980s was because the government recognized that a certain level of telephone communication was a necessity rather than a luxury. As our world becomes progressively more dependent on technology, the ability to interact with the digital world has become a requirement for many aspects of daily life. That is one of the primary benefits of free Lifeline phone service. It allows individuals who need government assistance to function in the digital age as it is presumed everyone can function. From being able to provide an email address and phone number on job applications, to signing up for emergency text message notifications from a weather service, to even being able to perform such basic functions as calling 9-1-1. While some people might not consider simply having a cell phone plan to be a measurable benefit, many customers may not be able to afford a phone plan otherwise and free Lifeline phone service is an amazing benefit.
Furthermore, free Lifeline phone service is the benefit that has the most ability to generate further benefits. For example, a customer may be required to make appointments by phone in order to verify their income and maintain their food stamps benefit. As most government offices only operate during regular business hours, it becomes necessary to be able to make calls and have a phone line where individuals can make as well as receive important calls.
Finally, as is the case with many other government aid programs (many of which are prerequisites for Lifeline), an immeasurable benefit of signing up for Lifeline service with Assist Wireless is the restoration of a sense of normalcy during a period of time when life can be very difficult. The various free and low-cost Lifeline service plans available through Assist Wireless help their customers continue to live their lives while navigating difficult times. Whether a family is working to improve their situation, or recovering from unfortunate circumstances, the benefit of having a modern phone capable of performing all the functions so many other Americans may take for granted can’t be overstated.
For individuals who qualify for Lifeline, these are just a few examples of the many benefits associated with getting Lifeline phone service with Assist Wireless. With so many great reasons to enroll, if you are eligible for a Lifeline phone, you should reach out to Assist Wireless as soon as you can! Assist is here to help you find out if you are eligible for Lifeline as well as help you find the plan that is right for you and your current budget.