Surprisingly, the answer is yes.
If you go for two months with out using it you will be “de-enrolled” from the program. The use of the phone is called “utilization,” and Safelink Wireless, Assurance Wireless and ReachOut Wireless all define utilization as making or receiving a call, attempting to make a call, checking voicemail, sending or opening a text message, checking airtime balance with the dialing sequence of the vendor, any sort of data usage or adding airtime minutes.
If you become de-enrolled, you will have a 30-day grace period to re-enroll by calling the company’s customer service line. ReachOut customers may also re-enroll by demonstrating usage activity. Upon re-enrollment, you will receive the monthly minutes that you were entitled to receive through the date your enrollment was cancelled.
If you do not re-enroll within the 30-day grace period, your phone will be deactivated. Each company has a different way to reactivate your phone:
Safelink Wireless: If your service is deactivated, you may reactivate your service by re-enrolling in the SAFELINK Program (if eligible) or purchasing and redeeming a TracFone Wireless airtime card with service days. Upon reactivation of your phone, you may be assigned a new telephone number. Any airtime remaining on your handset at the time of deactivation will be reinstated if your phone is reactivated within 60 days from the deactivation date. If your phone remains inactive for more than 60 days, you will lose any remaining airtime.
Assurance Wireless: At the end of the applicable 30-day period following notification of ineligibility, you will lose any free monthly minutes remaining in your account and you will no longer receive a monthly allocation of free minutes. For 120 days after the end of this 30-day period, if you have a sufficient balance in your account, you will be charged 10¢ for each additional minute you use. During this 120-day period, you may choose to switch to a Virgin Mobile plan and keep your phone number by calling 1-888-321-5880. After the end of this 120 day-period, your account will expire and we will deactivate your service. If your account expires, you will lose your phone number, and Assurance Wireless will assess you a termination charge equal to the value of the balance in your account.
ReachOut Wireless: In order to reactivate your Reachout Wireless phone and re-enroll in the Reachout Wireless Lifeline Program, you will need to call Reachout Wireless customer service and you will need to pay a Service Activation Fee (“SAF”) Upon re-enrollment in the Reachout Wireless Lifeline Program, you will be provided your first entitlement of airtime for the thirty (30) day period of time in which the service was reactivated.
The upshot: Use the darn phone the government gave you.