Do Social Security, Unemployment, Workers Comp count towards total household income?

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One of the ways to qualify for a Lifeline government cell phone is low-income eligibility. Your Total Household Income must be at or below 135-150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. But how is “income” defined?

Of course, any money you earn from working adds to your income. But so do benefits you receive from the government, such as Social Security, Unemployment, Worker’s Comp, etc.

Household income includes all income received by everyone in your household, whether taxable or nontaxable, including, but not limited to: wages, salaries, interest, dividends, spousal support and child support, grants, gifts, allowances, stipends, public-assistance payments, social security and pensions, unemployment insurance payments, Worker’s Comp, rental income, income from self-employment and cash payments from other sources, and all employment-related, non-cash income.

Furthermore, you may not be claimed as a dependent on another person’s income tax retur

Learn more about how to qualify for a government cell phone.


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  1. Helen Arthur says

    I can’t find where to apply. One had application and said safelink not available in 29582 area. Getting very confused. I’m 61, disabled, and just need a phone for emergancy and to talk to family every now and then. I don’t text.

  2. Jim Norris says

    my income is more than Stated but when I take my deductions off am minus 0 and pay no federal taxes.
    Will I qualify


  3. Deb says

    Hey, it is what it is. I agree w/Lisa. Pat Willson must be mis-managing his/her money if they can’t afford a cheap Tracfone on their own. After seeing that viral video filmed in Cleveland of the free Obama phones, I am sick and tired of my taxes going towards people getting all this free stuff.

    • Mary says

      Deb, with medical, food and housing, I can see why Jim is having a hard time.
      PLUS he is a VET.

      I believe a VET should receive a free phone no matter what they get from VA payments,etc.
      Military, Police and Firemen put their lives in danger to provide us with a safe living space.

      Its not like he went out and had 8 babies and doesn’t know who the baby daddy is, getting free food and housing and a check for each child. Those are the ones I don’t like getting free phones.

  4. Bill E Bob says

    Lisa… hey, thanks for being so properous in your5 answer, even telling Pat “since you somehow missed it”. Ever here of courtesy and NOT being rude in answering a question that someone did not get? Remeber this moment next time you are the person looking at the answer but missing it for whatever reason.

    Why so many people cant wait to be rude and demenaing on the internet is beyond me. I think its got to be some kind of personality insecurities. TREAT OTHERS LIKE YOU WANT TO BE TREATED!!!

  5. Pat Willson says

    I receive a VA disability check monthly. Does this amount ($797.00) mo count as income towards this program? (Also $1234 Social Security. Total: $14808 per year).
    Total per month – $24372 (If VA disability counts). Thanks – Pat

    • Lisa says

      Pat –
      Your question is answered above but I will tell you since you somehow missed it. Yes, your disability check does add to your “income”. The total of $24,372 is your annual income. If you would have clicked on the link provided above (Federal Poverty Guidelines) you would have seen the income limit charts. I am going to assume you are the only person in your household, this information is needed to determine your income limit. If you live in Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island or Texas you would have to make less than $16,335; If you live in any other state than the ones I just listed, your income would need to be less than $14,702. Again, these totals were made based on the assumption that you live alone. Your income is way too high for you to be able to benefit from this government program. If you are in need of a cell phone and can’t afford one with the amount of money you get each month then I think you’re missing something.

  6. Patricia M. Jones says

    I like to fine out if i can get a cell phone, On myIncome. I get I get Social Security.Disability Iget 1,065.00 a mos. Thank You, Patricia Jones.