The Obama phone is not a myth as a online search rapidly confirms. This popular government program explains why we see so many people that would appear to not have a dime in their pockets walking along or driving down the street talking on a cell phone. What exactly is the free Obama phone? It is a program that is meant to help the financially unstable who cannot afford access to a cell phone. It seems that communication should not be limited to people in relation to what they can afford. The Lifeline program started decades ago to help low income families have access to land lines has been expanded. Over the years the cost of cell phones and cellular service has decreased and the program has been extended to cover cell phones.
So who qualifies? It seems that if you, or members in your household are, receiving the following benefits you automatically qualify for the Lifeline program. The best way to know if you qualify is by filling out an application for a Lifeline provider in your state. Those interested in the program must have an income of less than 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or about $22,350 per year for a family of four.
- Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income – commonly known as SSI
- Health Benefit Coverage under Child Health Insurance Plan (CHIP)
- The National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Program.
- Low-Income Energy Assistance Program – LIHEAP
- Federal Public Housing Assistance ( Section 8 )
- If you are a low-income Eligible Resident of Tribal Lands
- Temporary Assistance to Needy Families – TANF
Lifeline is a government sponsored program, but who is paying for it. Some people claim that the government is using taxpayer’s money to run this program, however, the claim is false. Universal Service Fund (USF) which is administers by Federal Communication Commission along the Universal Service Administration Company (USAC), pays for the Lifeline phone assistance program.The Universal Service Fund (USF) was created back in 1997 by Federal Communication Commission in order to achieve the goals set by the Congress under the Telecommunication Act of 1996. According to the Act, service providers are obliged to contribute a portion of their interstate and international telecommunications revenues. OK, SO IN EFFECT IT LOOKS LIKE THE SAME PEOPLE THAT PAY TAXES, ARE PAYING FOR IT, IN A BACK HANDED UNDER THE TABLE SORT OF WAY.
It is written that if you are one of those people who have lost their jobs due to recession, then probably you’re having hard time with your daily expenses. On top of that, paying telephone bills will add extra pressure on you. However, you can get rid of this extra burden if you apply for the Lifeline Assistance Program run by the government. With the turmoil in the economy, more and more people are being eligible for this program and around eight million people have already signed up with this program up to now. In order to avail this facility you need to contact with the provider of this service. Government has approved many companies at national and regional level to provide this service to the eligible people. Currently, the government is thinking of providing free wireless internet service to the people under this program instead of old-fashioned land phones. It’ll be a great effort if government includes this service in Lifeline program.
Just how much would one of these free government cell phones change your life?
- An employer can more easily reach you with a job offer if you have a free government cell phone.
- You can you stay in touch with your doctor and other emergency medical professionals more easily with a free government cell phone.
- A free government cell phone can help you keep in touch with family and other loved ones.
Abby Schachter has penned a post titled “Free cell phones are now a civil right.” Suffice it to say, she is none to happy about the free cell phones by the government program. She is particularly incensed that some are now calling a free cell phone a “civil right.” But who ever said it’s a civil right? Unfortunately, it was Gary Carter, manager of national partnerships for Assurance Wireless, whom she quoted in her blog post: “The program is about peace of mind,” Carter said. “It’s one less bill that someone has to pay, so they can pay their rent or for day care. … It is a right to have peace of mind.”
As expected this program has grown very fast and has nearly tripled in cost since 2008. With the only requirement being that recipients be on Medicaid, food stamps or another state or federal welfare program all those free minutes quickly add up. Last year, the government funneled $2.2 billion to the phone cartels to cover the cost of this Lifeline. But the Feds never required proof from cell carriers that their millions of Lifeline users were truly needy. Some 41% of Lifeline cell subscribers failed to show that they were eligible. Only last year did the FCC begin to "force" carriers to verify that Lifeline users needed aid after it found the program was riddled with "fraud and waste".
With such a large percentage of many Americans having cell phones it is expected that carriers would be having a hard time finding new clients that actually pay their bills. By having the government cover the costs for millions of new customers the real face of corporate welfare is exposed. A lifeline to help poor Americans also helps companies like Sprint and AT&T. It should be added the government loves the program because it garners votes for those in power at the same time that it makes the economy appear better and stronger then it really is. It is hard to say how much fraud and waste has been reduced within this program, but I suspect it is minimal.