It wasn’t long ago that Minnesota was known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes and one free government cell phone company. But Assurance Wireless has begun competing with Life Wireless, the state still has same number of lakes, but twice as many free cell phone companies.
That’s great news for Minnesota’s needy residents, because it means they can now get a free cell phone and 250 free minutes per month plus 250 free text messages every month.
A quick look at poverty statistics makes it clear that this is a program that’s desperately needed in Minnesota. Nearly 170,000 of the state’s residents are unemployed and nearly 20 percent fall below the federal government’s poverty line.
In today’s economy it’s not just the uneducated who are unemployed. According to a study conducted by the Chronicle for Higher Education Urban Institute, college graduates may have degrees, but they don’t necessarily have jobs. The number of doctoral degree holders who signed up for government aid is three times higher than it was in 2007.
An Assurance Wireless press release said, “…we are proud to help more and more customers stay connected to potential employers, medical and childcare providers. We look forward to providing this same type of assistance to eligible Minnesota residents who need support and resources during what continue to be rough economic times for many.”
The free government cell phones are available through a national program called Lifeline Assistance. Eligibility rules vary from state to state, but Minnesota residents may qualify if they already participate in other government aid programs such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8), Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), the National School Lunch Program (NSL).
Even if you don’t participate in any of those programs, you may still be eligible for a Lifeline Assistance free government cell phone. If you make less than 135% of the federal government’s poverty level, you may qualify.
Assurance, a subsidiary of Virgin Mobile, now does business in 35 states plus Washington, DC.
We’re happy to say that Minnesota is now one of them.