Assurance Wireless, a brand of Sprint Nextel, has expanded into Pennsylvania, offering free cell phones to low-income residents. This now puts Assurance Wireless into 21 states and the District of Columbia, advancing quickly against the entrenched Safelink Wireless, a brand of Tracfone.
Eligible customers in Pennsylvania receive a free phone, and 250 free minutes of voice service per month. Phones come with standard features such as voice mail, and customers can pay to add text messaging or additional voice minutes.
Assurance Wireless is funded by the federal government’s Universal Service Fund’s “Lifeline Assistance” program, and was created to help needy Americans find jobs, stay in touch with relatives, and save money.
Pennsylvanians receiving assistance from one of the following programs may qualify for a free phone from the government:
- Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Medicaid, Food Stamps/SNAP
- General Assistance
- Free school lunch program
Someone may also qualify by having household income less than 135 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $14,702 for a single person and $30,173 for a family of four.