Assurance Wireless, a company of Sprint/Nextel, just added Utah to their list of what are now 27 states in which they provide a free cell phone and 250 minutes of service monthly to financially disadvantaged Americans.
While there are three major companies who participate in what is called the Lifeline Assistance program, which helps get free phones into the hands of low-income and others on public assistance, Utah has long been underserved by the program. Until the entrance of Assurance Wireless, Utah residents only had one choice — Safelink Wireless. Fortunately, Safelink is the most established of the free government cell phones companies. Now, the state has a choice between the two largest vendors, who together supply the majority of Lifeline cell phones to the country.
This comes as good news to over 100,000 Utah residents that are currently unemployed, of which 11.5% are living below the federal poverty line. The phones can help these people to more easily get in contact with potential employers, and let those employers get back to them, hopefully with a job offer. One Assurance Wireless customer put it this way:
“I was unemployed for an extended amount of time due to layoffs. The free phone and service I received from Assurance Wireless was invaluable to my finding new employment and to my efforts to recover from this recession. It allowed me to contact potential employers and provide a way for them to respond to me, while also saving money needed to provide for my family. Assurance also gave me peace of mind that I had a way to stay connected to my kids while away from home.”
Assurance Wireless phones, while not iPhones, Androids, or Backberrys, are modern wireless phones that come with voice mail, caller id and call waiting. The customer is allowed 250 voice minutes a month, which may not seem like a lot, but it is enough for the intended purpose of the program. Other services and more minutes are available from the company at competitive rates.
You are eligible for the phone if your Total Household Income is at or under 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or if you receive benefits from any of these programs in Utah (varies from state to state):
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance/Section 8
- General Assistance
- Head Start (Income Based Qualification ONLY)
- Home Energy Assistance Program HEAT/Home Electric Lifeline Program (HELP)
- National School Lunch Program (NSL)(NOT REDUCED)
- Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
- Refugee Assistance
- Work Toward Employment
The Assurance cell phone service is currently available in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.
For more information on Assurance Wireless, other choices in vendors, the Lifeline Assistance free cell phone program, and Utah and other states’ availability, please go to FreeGovernmentCellPhones.net, the #1 authority on the program.