For thousands of low-income individuals across the US, the Federal Lifeline Assistance Program has made it possible to afford monthly phone service. In order to be eligible for this program, individuals must not have an income that exceeds their state’s specific Federal Poverty Guidelines. Those who receive assistance through certain qualifying government assistance programs are also eligible to receive a Lifeline phone service discount. Individuals who receive welfare benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are able to subscribe to the Lifeline program.

What the Lifeline Program Does for Welfare and SSI Recipients

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The Lifeline program provides very low monthly phone service rates (or sometimes free service) for eligible low-income individuals. These rates help make phone service much more affordable for those who struggle financially. The Lifeline program was initially set up as a way to ensure that those who are experiencing financial hardship can have access to basic phone service in order to stay in touch with loved ones, find jobs and make other important phone calls.

For those who do not have enough money for a wireless phone, some wireless providers offer free cell phones to Lifeline subscribers. When welfare or SSI recipients find a participating wireless provider, they will be able to get a phone that comes with certain features, such as up to 250 minutes of free monthly talk time, texting, voicemail and call waiting. They should keep in mind that the exact features included vary by state.

How the Lifeline Program Benefits Welfare and SSI Recipients

Those who receive welfare benefits or SSI have already demonstrated that they are experiencing financial hardship. In many cases, these individuals cannot afford phone service. With Lifeline’s help, they are able to have monthly phone service to help them through this difficult time. This makes it easier for welfare and SSI recipients to call with questions or concerns about their benefits. For example, if they have not received their monthly benefits or payment, they do not have to worry about finding a phone to use or going to the local welfare office in person. They can make a simple phone call to put their minds at ease instead.

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“People who depend on welfare benefits or SSI payments for their living expenses are already under a lot of stress and Lifeline helps ease that burden in a big way,” said Issa Asad, the CEO of Q Link Wireless, a subsidiary of Quadrant Holdings and an approved provider of Lifeline service based in Dania, Florida. The QLink Wireless CEO goes on to explain that “with Lifeline, these individuals have an easier time contacting the welfare or SSI office if their benefits are late or if something else goes wrong.”

Having phone service also means that welfare and SSI recipients have a reliable way to get in touch with family members and friends. They can reach their loved ones at any time, which makes a big difference in terms of their quality of life. Those who are looking for steady work or a higher paying job also have a way for potential employers to contact them to come in for interviews or to follow up with them afterwards.

Important Things to Consider

Welfare and SSI recipients should note that they can only have one Lifeline discount per household. They will be able to choose between wireless or landline phone service, but they cannot receive a discount on both. They also have to verify their eligibility every year to continue getting their Lifeline discount, which can be done online, via mail or over the phone.

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Above content provided by Issa Asad, the CEO of Q Link Wireless and Quadrant Holdings located in Dania, FL.