Eagle-eyed experts at FreeGovernmentCellPhones.net discover more Americans will soon be eligible for Lifeline phone service program meant for the poor
Thanks to a little-noticed clause in the nation’s new healthcare law, up to three million middle-class Americans will qualify for free cell phones under the government’s popular Lifeline phone service program.
Lifeline and its companion program, Link-Up, are normally restricted to low income or otherwise financially disadvantaged Americans. But changes to how the Medicaid qualification is calculated for early retirees will open the program up to those earning as much as $64,000 per year.
“The change in the healthcare law was intended to alter the rules on qualifying for Medicaid,” said Mark Henry, editor at FreeGovernmentCellPhones.net. “But as soon as we saw the change, we quickly realized that it will also entitle millions of middle-class Americans to a free cell phone from the government.”
Lifeline/Link-Up rules vary from state to state, but generally say that you meet the Lifeline eligibility rules, you can get a free cell phones and free monthly minutes and texts if you are below 135% of the poverty level, or if you receive benefits from any of a wide range of government assistance programs, including Medicaid.
“It’s very simple. Three million new, middle-class people now qualify for Medicaid,” Henry said, “and that means they also qualify for free cell phones from the government.”
According to Medicaid actuaries, retirees earning as much as $64,000 will qualify for Medicaid in 2014. That puts them at nearly four times the federal poverty level, which is $14,710 this year for a two-person household.
“Lifeline is an outstanding program that has helped up to eight million low income and disadvantaged Americans,” Henry added. “We’re not pleased to see it expanding beyond its mission of helping low income Americans. With the debt issues the country is facing, we want there to be enough money in the program for those who really need it.”