Obama Lifeline Program for Low Income Individuals with free data now too

ny11tonyny11tony Novice 3
edited February 14 in Off Topic Talk
http://www.obamaphone.com/

It has been around for years, but low income individuals can get free phones and service plans and they have recently introduced free smart phones and data as part of the program.  The above link gives all the details, but you basically cannot have income greater than 135% - 150% of the Federal Poverty Level.  The qualifications vary for each state.  There are many companies that offer the program and the types of phones and units you get vary with each company.  This program is still available even though Obama is out of office.

Safe Link (Tracfone) is the largest provider.  With them you get:
*500 minutes + unlimited texting monthly (no data) + free non smart phone all for free
*or 350 minutes, unlimited texting, and 500 mb (1GB/mos 1st 3 months) + free smart phone all for free  (Not sure if the data is 3g or 4g)

You can add unlimited calling for $15/mos.
You can add unlimited calling + extra 500 mb/mos (total of 1 GB monthly) for $20/mos
*And higher data plans too
With Safelink, you can also Bring Your own Phone, but it must be T Mobile, ATT or unlocked GSM phone.

Again, there are many companies that offer this with various different free and paid plans.  You can find all the details in the above link.
alshhfpphoneKing_Tut
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Comments

  • Tracfone (Safelink) is supposed to offer LTE on the BYOP smartphone service, and Verizon is a third carrier they also support.  Sprint phones not eligible, however!

    Safelink is supposed to also offer 4GB plan for $30 also (and a higher 8GB plan too!), however I'm not seeing it as a purchase option.  However, maybe that's just because I only have a 2G Tracfone currently on the total free service plan, not a BYOP smartphone.  Or, maybe 4GB becomes an upgrade option only once you are on the 500MB plan?

    It was ironic to me that RingPlus was offering better free plans than the USF government-funded lifeline program!

  • liberal-almond-matte-spider-203286:
    It was ironic to me that RingPlus was offering better free plans than the USF government-funded lifeline program!

    Yes but look where it got ring+ so this is one time the Government didn't need to copy a company or lord knows where this could of went with them.

  • Just an FYI, this Lifeline Program has been around since 1985.  So I don't think President Obama deserves the credit or the blame (depending on your political view!) for its existence. It was altered and modernized in March of last year however, which is probably when the data service was started.
    Conic_EllipseVoIPFanRPValerieAnne
  • I didn't know that Obama is in the phone business or is that a scam website. That's very interesting. Should I wait for a better deal TrumpPhone, will it be nicer,faster and better? Did you sign up for one?
    X1011
  • bpsbps MVP 20
    edited February 14
    rptao1:
    TrumpPhone, will it be nicer,faster and better?

    and it will be great again

    i signed up for one these for my dad.
    retired on fixed income.

    it was a former R+ line.
    he qualified.
    i am pretty sure i will not.

    have it for a few months now.
    no complaints
    only used for calling
    no data
    no text
    (although he has unimed minutes and text...500mb data) all for free



    VoIPFanRP
  • rptao1:
    I didn't know that Obama is in the phone business or is that a scam website. That's very interesting. Should I wait for a better deal TrumpPhone, will it be nicer,faster and better? Did you sign up for one?

    The republicans called it that after he added some more stuff to it and renewed it back in his first 4 years.TrumpPhone would promise you everything then tell you I didn't say that lol.



    bps:
    have it for a few months now.
    no complaints
    only used for calling
    no data
    no text
    (although he has unimed minutes and text...500mb data) all for free

    I signed my aunt up for hers but I never saw unlimited mins she gets 250 mins

    wireless-golden-spotted-ladybug-932452rptao1
  • rptao1:
    is that a scam website

    This is not a scam; it is a legitimate website and program.  Like others have mentioned; it has been around for years as a government subsidy for low income individuals.  I know many people that are on the plan.  It is legitimate!  For people who qualify; take a look if it suits your needs.


  • Hasn't the brand new FCC chairman revoked the lifeline changes made a few months ago?
  • bpsbps MVP 20
    generous-brown-argyle-pumpkin-108450:
    I signed my aunt up for hers but I never saw unlimited mins she gets 250 mins

    special for CA residents i think.
    assurance wireless via virgin mobile


    VoIPFanRP
  • According to the FCC site, all they're doing is reconsidering whether 9 out of the 900 Lifeline Providers are eligible to participate in the program. Only one of those providers actually has any customers. Cutting through the standard government newspeak, it seems he wants to make an effort to verify that all the people who have this Lifeline Service are actually entitled to it.  I do remember reading accusations several times over the past decade that the agencies that were supposed to verify eligibility were not doing a very effective job.  I don't know whether verifying customers is a Federal or a State  responsibility.

    VoIPFanRP
  • with TELLO.com  Pay As You Go Credit, $5 bucks will get you up to 6 months and/or up to 166minutes whichever comes first. (can also use it for Text and/or Data).
    Can't get cheaper than that .. oh.. and your R+ phone (CDMA) will work there without any issues.
  • @ Micahel_Knight Tello is a ripoff unless you use a few minutes a month. For an average user it's just as bad price wise as Ting. TPO mobile is a far better deal for an average user wanting to use a sprint based device/s.  And if you can afford the upfront cost of a T-Mobile based GSM phone and a years worth of service MintSim is even better. giving you UNL/UNL/2GB+UNL 2G after that for $199 a year and you can get 20% off using SHOPCLEVER coupon code. 

    @ Generous-Brown-Argyle_Pumpkin Sore Loserman ? 
  • kaljor:
    I don't know whether verifying customers is a Federal or a State  responsibility.
    It's the responsibility of the provider.  They tightened verification up 3 or so years ago.  You have to recertify every year.


    kaljorVoIPFanRP
  • alsals Pro 11
    "  I do remember reading accusations several times over the past decade that the agencies that were supposed to verify eligibility were not doing a very effective job.  I don't know whether verifying customers is a Federal or a State  responsibility."
    Putting the cat among the canaries, 
     Last time I worked background checks for  weapons,
     Fl. was more than 4 years behind reporting to the feds,  Fl state residents convicted of felonies.
    VoIPFanRP
  • DRMN:
    It's the responsibility of the provider.  They tightened verification up 3 or so years ago.  You have to recertify every year.

    Well that would explain why I've seen stories alleging unqualified people were being signed up.  A provider would have every incentive to "mistakenly" approve customers who they should not.  And before they had to recertify that was probably the main loophole the providers took advantage of. I know I've taken this thread a little off topic so I will say that the program seems to me to be a good one, and if anyone losing their Ring Plus service thinks they might qualify, they certainly should check it out.

    alsVoIPFanRP
  • Tello and ting are structured very differently. With ting your bill can ballon very quickly unless you set up shut off points / timers. With tello if you sign up for a plan thats what you get and even at that after you hit your data limit its just throttled.

    BrentskyBoodle:
    @ Micahel_Knight Tello is a ripoff unless you use a few minutes a month. For an average user it's just as bad price wise as Ting. TPO mobile is a far better deal for an average user wanting to use a sprint based device/s.  And if you can afford the upfront cost of a T-Mobile based GSM phone and a years worth of service MintSim is even better. giving you UNL/UNL/2GB+UNL 2G after that for $199 a year and you can get 20% off using SHOPCLEVER coupon code. 

  • Xanth413Xanth413 Pro 15
    edited February 15
    Assurance wireless works off of virgin mobile and has a offer for a free smart phone with 350 talk unlimited texting and 500mb of 3g data free every month. 

    Just signed up to switch my SafeLink to them.

    http://www.assurancewireless.com/Public/MorePrograms.aspx
    alsny11tonyVoIPFanRPrptao1
  • Conic_EllipseConic_Ellipse MVP 36
    edited February 14
    Note that at $2.25 Billion per year, the Lifeline program (Obamaphone, which started out in 1985 with Ronald Reagan and was expanded by Bush to include wireless) is fraught with fraud, waste, and abuse. There is a bill currently in Congress to cut it to about $1.5 Billion. FCC Chaiman Ajit Pai would like for there to be a cap put in place and the amount of fraud reduced before the program is expanded.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnHIhs_YRTA
    VoIPFanRPSoteria1rptao1
  • kaljor:
    Just an FYI, this Lifeline Program has been around since 1985.  So I don't think President Obama deserves the credit or the blame (depending on your political view!) for its existence. It was altered and modernized in March of last year however, which is probably when the data service was started.

    This is all true.  Every normal phone line has been charged a USF tax fee since 1985 to fund the low-income free and discounted phone service.

    I think Obama is wrongly credited with the program's inception because it was traditionally limited to a household landline service.  It was expanded around 2008 when he took office to include mobile phone voice service.  And recently expanded again last year to cover mobile data.  The program was supposed to cover home Internet, but that never seemed to happen yet.  Eligible recipients can only have one of these service types in their household, regardless of how many household members may qualify.

    VoIPFanRPX1011
  • Republicans always use out of date figures when they what to cut a program that helps people. "Since the FCC implemented reforms in 2012, spending on the Lifeline program has continued to decrease, going from $2.1 billion in 2012, to $1.79 billion in 2013, to $1.66 billion in 2014. This is more than a 20% decrease since the FCC implemented its reforms in 2012.  In 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) instituted a complete program overhaul. Among other changes, the FCC created a National Lifeline Accountability Database to prevent multiple carriers from receiving support for the same subscriber, required providers to de-enroll wireless Lifeline subscribers who have not used the service for a consecutive 60-day period, mandated that providers annually verify the initial and continued eligibility of their subscribers, and implemented other enrollment safeguards. "  Carriers who were abusing the system were fined $90 Million in 2013. It's not an Obamaphone, it's the Lifeline program but the GOP Rep who introduced the bill referred to it as "Obama phone" three times.  So that's a real good hint as to why they want to cut a program that the elderly, disabled, unemployed, and low income Americans rely on.

    VoIPFanRP
  • alsals Pro 11
    edited February 15
    @Conic_Ellipse ;
     Um, there is more to the story.
    I subscribed to Lifeline in 2010 with ATT as my home provider to be able to keep up  in emergencies with the kids and grandkids while between jobs. I still paid full price for home phone service, while,
    ATT* (sarcasm) very generously credited my account with $5 lifeline  credit  while continuing to charge me  full price for service+ plus usf fee  just  crediting the usf fee  of $5 every month,
     Go figure,,,,
    VoIPFanRP
  • My son signed up for a bozo phone with QLink wireless.  He had to go thru 3 phones to get one that worked....but he did get a brand new Samsung Prime phone.  He just got handed a data plan of 500 data with 350 talk and text.  He is on SSI and qualified immediately.  The hard part was getting Qlink to get him a phone that worked!!!  They are out of South Florida.  They do have a live chat that works....
    VoIPFanRP
  • https://social.ringplus.net/discussion/comment/147442/#Comment_147442 ; MintSim DOES work off the LTE CDMA network... I got a Sim Card and the instructions say to check the network box for the LTE CDMA network..... you can use the GSM phones AND the LTE phones with Mint.  Plese don't spread the wrong info about Mint.

  • BrentskyBoodle:
    And if you can afford the upfront cost of a T-Mobile based GSM phone and a years worth of service MintSim is even better. giving you UNL/UNL/2GB+UNL 2G after that for $199 a year and you can get 20% off using SHOPCLEVER coupon code. 
    And when you pop that nice new $199 Mint SIM in your phone and find it doesn't work would you be a Sore Loserman? You did read their return policy didn't you?

  • underthebedmonster:
    you can use the GSM phones AND the LTE phones with Mint.  Plese don't spread the wrong info about Mint.
    See post above.

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