Medicare is a federal government-supported program that offers health coverage to older citizens over 65 or to individuals under 65 that have a disability. However, the program got launched by the federal program “Lifeline” to provide cell phones or free wireless service to qualified members for emergencies vital for seniors. The lifeline program offers free phones for seniors on Medicare to anyone who meets the eligibility criteria, and it’s available in all 50 states.
Mostly, seniors have limited income because many older people are on social security, and cell phones might be last on the priority list of purchases. For this reason, anyone who qualifies can apply for the program and get a free cell phone or home phone, together with a free monthly phone plan.
Generally, Lifeline Assistance is the program that offers free phones for seniors on social security. The eligible households receive a $9.25 discount on their monthly bill. Notably, many wireless carriers offer Lifeline benefits to qualified users. These benefits include free mobile devices and even free monthly plans for wireless services.
Eligibility Criteria To Get Free Phone For Seniors
The specific requirements for a free phone for seniors varies by state, but in most cases, you must meet the income-based guidelines or participate in any of the following programs:
- (Food Stamps or SNAP) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
- (SSI) Supplemental Security Income
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
- Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
- National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Program
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
- Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF)
- Head Start (for income eligibility criteria)
- State assistance programs (if applicable)
However, some rules must apply to qualify for free government cell phones for low income. For instance, you cannot possess more than one per household to get a free phone for seniors on Medicare. And, you can either use the program to acquire a cell phone or a home phone, but not both.
Essentiality For Free Cell Phone For Seniors
The US government offers free cellphones for the disabled with low income and the neglected seniors above 65 years. The phones come along with free services, and the reasons why the government considered it necessary to offer a free phone to eligible seniors include:
i) For personal safety
Seniors are the most vulnerable group in society. Besides, most seniors get abandoned and spend most of their lives alone. This reason demands the need for a cellphone to seek help during an emergency.
ii) Medical safety
Old age has many health complications, and seniors also need cell phones for medical safety. Thus, seniors need a cellphone standby to call and request help during an injury or illness attack.
iii) For mental health
The seniors experience several physical and emotional traumas that are not well for their mental health. They can access fun and recreational activities such as social networking through cellphones. In return, they can relax, calm stress, and strengthen their mental health.
Application Process For Free Cell Phones For Seniors On Medicare
After confirming that you qualify for free government smartphones, the next step is to initiate the application process. There are two steps to go about this:
- You can apply directly through the Lifeline Support organization online or using mail) and then enroll with the available wireless carrier of your choice in your local area.
- You can proceed directly to a wireless carrier that participates in Lifeline Assistance in your area and apply. Most Lifeline providers also offer you the option to apply online or through standard mail.
Applying online through Lifeline National Verifier:
Ensure you have copies or digital photos of needed documents ready ( address proof, identity proof, income, or program participation proof (proof of eligibility))
- Proceed to https://nationalverifier.servicenowservices.com
- Select your state
- Tap on the ‘Get Started’ button
- Follow the on-screen instruction and complete the online form
Applying through standard mail:
Ensure you have hard copies of the needed document ready (address proof, identity proof, income, or program participation proof (proof of eligibility))
- Proceed to http://lifelinesupport.org
- Print out the Lifeline application form:
- Complete the application form
- Attach the application form with the copies o necessary documents and send them to Lifeline Support Center, PO Box 7081, London, KY 40742
Are There Any Other Special Program For Seniors
Seniors have another unique discount program on AARP Cell Phone Plan for qualified retirees.AARP provides discounts for seniors on cellular service, thus saving money on their monthly bills. If you are over 50, you can be an AARP member and enjoy AARP cell phone plan discounts or AARP cell phones for seniors.
The following are the two providers proving discounts through AARP:
i) Consumer Cellular
Consumer Cellular provides customized cell phone plans for seniors and starts from as low as $15 per month. AARP members get under this carrier gets:
- A 5% discount on their monthly cell phone plans.
- Up to 30% off on cell phone accessories.
- An extension on the money-back guarantee period from 30 days to 45 days.
AARP members enrolled under AT&T Wireless can save up to 10% on their data and talk monthly plan charges, in addition to 15% savings on eligible phone accessories. AARP members under this provider get:
- 10% off voice and data plan monthly charges.
- Up to $45 waiver for activation or upgrade fees.
- Up to 15% off on qualified phone accessories.
The Best Cell Phone Plans For Seniors
If you determine which cell phone plan is perfect for seniors, you should know the types of cell phone plans available. However, a senior cell phone plan offers you extra discounts and savings from major wireless carriers if you’re above the age of 55. Besides, the AARP membership can save you on phone plans if you’re above 50 years old.
Moreover, if you’re not sure if a senior cell phone plan is fit for you or too young to qualify, there are plenty of cell phone plans with free phones. These plans can still offer you the features you want at the price you’ve budgeted for, even when they aren’t tailored specifically for seniors. The senior’s plans include:
i) T-Mobile Unlimited 55+ plan
T-Mobile provides a phone plan for seniors above 55 years and older, which gives users an unlimited amount of text, talk, and data. The plan begins at $27.50 a month, and you don’t require to sign a long-term contract. However, the mobile devices compatible with this plan start from basic flip phones to the recent flagship from Apple and Samsung.
ii) Verizon 55+ Unlimited Plan
Verizon grants eligibility for customers at least 55 years old and has a wide selection of smartphones compatible with the plan. This plan features unlimited data, text, and talk. It also provides DVD-quality streaming and unlimited hotspots. However, there is coverage available in Mexico and Canada. And a single line costs $60, and two lines go for $80 per month.
iii) Consumer Cellular
If you are an AARP member, you can receive an additional discount when you enroll for a plan with Consumer Cellular. These plans are suitable for seniors with changing needs, as they offer diverse options and flexibility.
However, a plan with 250 minutes of calls begins at $15 a month, and a plan featuring text and limited data costs slightly more. After picking an initial plan, you can switch it later if you need more or fewer services.
You can bring your existing phone if it is unlocked to use with this plan or choose from a range of flip and smartphones.
iv) AT&T Senior Nation
This plan is meant for individuals age 65 or older and starts at $29.99 per month for 200 minutes. You’ll also get 500 minutes for nights and weekends, and the plan provides unlimited calls to other AT&T Mobility customers but only applies for basic phones and not smartphones. If you require data or more cell phone options, you can upgrade to a cell phone plan at a higher cost.
v) Republic Wireless
If you consume little to no data but require to buy only talk and text services, this plan may be ideal for you. For $15 per month, you’ll get unlimited talk and text. And, if you decide you need data, you can top it for $5 per GB every month. However, you can terminate the contract at any time, plus you can also use your current phone or purchase a smartphone.
vi) Cricket Wireless
If you’re a member of AARP, you may get a basic plan for unlimited talk and text, together with 2 GB of data, starting at $30 per month. However, no contract is required, and you won’t pay any cancellation fee.
A free phone is necessary for seniors, and those qualified can apply for free phones for seniors on medicare through Lifeline Program. Besides, you qualify if you already get assistance from the federal government or your income is equal to or less than 135% of the federal poverty guidelines.
Additionally, this program avails free phones for seniors on medicare or any household member meeting the requirements discussed in this guideline. The Lifeline program gets directed by the Universal Service Administrative Company and receives funds from the Universal Service Fund.
- Eligibility Criteria To Get Free Phone For Seniors
- Essentiality For Free Cell Phone For Seniors
- i) For personal safety
- ii) Medical safety
- iii) For mental health
- Application Process For Free Cell Phones For Seniors On Medicare
- Applying online through Lifeline National Verifier:
- Applying through standard mail:
- Are There Any Other Special Program For Seniors
- i) Consumer Cellular
- ii) AT&T
- The Best Cell Phone Plans For Seniors
- i) T-Mobile Unlimited 55+ plan
- ii) Verizon 55+ Unlimited Plan
- iii) Consumer Cellular
- iv) AT&T Senior Nation
- v) Republic Wireless
- vi) Cricket Wireless
- Bottom line