The world of today demands for everyone to have access to proper communication modes in order to eliminate the existing digital divide. However, what should we take into account when picking out a free cell phone for seniors and disabled persons? What is key and what features should we look for in a phone to help us make this choice?
The government deemed it necessary to include seniors and the disabled as beneficiaries of the Lifeline program to ensure their general safety and to facilitate immediate emergency medical attention when necessary.
The two groups often need assistance in their daily lives and are prone to illness. This article will guide you on how to get a free phone from the government, and we will show you the whole process so as to have a smooth application process. Let’s get started!
Why free cell phone is necessary for seniors and the disabled citizen
The government, through the Lifeline Assistance Program, provides free government phones for low-income to needy citizens. The elderly and disabled are eligible for this program is that they tend to be more vulnerable. However, it should be noted that they too have to satisfy the general criteria used to determine eligibility for the Lifeline Program.
This includes being active members of government aid programs or having an income less than 135% of the federal poverty level. Hence, the free government phones come in handy as it allows for them to contact their friends, family members or reach out to medical professionals for assistance.
Cell phones also provide a form of entertainment through social networking which helps them by distracting them from the many physical and emotional challenges that they face. It ensures that they are less lonely especially when it comes to abandoned elderly persons. This helps to look after and protect their general mental health.
How to Choose the Best Free Cell Phones for seniors and Disabled
When choosing a phone for elderly persons, could be your father or mother, there is just generally one basic rule you need to follow; give them what they need. There is no need for fancy phone features or extremely fast processors, and it isn’t a one size fits all scenario either. Here are some key points that you should look at when making your choice:
An ideal phone for a senior must have good speakers. This will cater for those who have a hearing impairment. Can you imagine how frustrating it must be talking on the phone or being on a video call with your grandchildren but barely hearing a word they say yet you are already at maximum volume?
A variety of phone companies design phones specifically for the elderly putting this factor into consideration. Such companies include Motorola with their Motorola G Stylus which is one of the loudest phones. Some phones such as the Jitterbug Smart 2 is hearing aid compatible making it even a better choice
A bright display is clear and easy to read. The screen assists in easy navigation especially for those who have a visual impairment. This feature also comes in handy when trying to find the phone in case it is misplaced. We should also talk about the size and simplicity of the icons since we are essentially talking about display.
When choosing a phone for a senior or disabled person, ensure the icons are bright, clear, visible and nothing too fancy that would be difficult to interpret. Also, if a few navigation bars or keys can be thrown in, the better.
iii) Body size of the device
Most seniors find very large phones a bit too bulky and find them difficult to use. Small phones, but not too small that can easily get lost, are the general preference. Phones such as flip phones are popular with seniors especially those with large buttons and large displays.
Large phones are specifically unsuitable for those who experience hand pain or have dexterity and hence suffer from immobility.
In these cases, a phone with virtual assistance such as Google Assist should be considered altogether. Some flip phones that are popular among seniors include Consumer Cellular Doro 7050 and GreatCall Lively Flip.
iv) No fancy Apps
Most elderly people are not very tech-savvy and would therefore have zero concern if you were to show up carrying a phone with the fastest processor and would barely understand as you rambled on about Megapixels and internal storage.
The idea for them is to communicate and that’s it. A few would enjoy the Brain Games that have quickly become popular amongst them but that is just about it. So when choosing a phone for an elderly person, remember this and only go for a phone that would fully service all their needs.
However, for those who are a bit more tech-savvy, consider a simple smartphone such as Samsung A11 which is even equipped with an Easy Mode making it simple to use.
v) No loud bells or whistles
As you can imagine, this feature is a quite irritating feature that used to be very popular in phones for the elderly but has now phased off. However, a desirable feature that fulfills the initial intention of the bells and whistles is having SOS features such as automatic text or calls to a specialized contact list,
Other provisions include specialized alerts that may be to remind the owner to take his or her medicine or a siren sound when prompted by the user in case of danger.
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How to get government free cell phones for senior citizens
Elderly and disabled persons can get free government cell phones through the Lifeline Program. The application process is simple and fast and is done online on the respective official websites of your preferred network carrier.
First, check if the person meets the criteria used to determine eligibility and the rest is a piece of cake. Simply visit a network carrier’s website, after doing a bit of research on the kind of packages they offer, and follow the instructions on the website to apply.
Both the elderly and disabled can also get free government cell phones through the Supplementary Security Income Program which is a Federal program that is set aside to assist the elderly and disabled. It provides help to elderly persons of the age of 65 and above and disabled persons by giving them free cell phones amongst other things.
Another source for free cell phones is the Social Security Disability Insurance Program, this program, as is in its name, only serves disabled persons especially those who are unable to work anymore because of disability caused by injury or illness.
The 5 best carriers for seniors and disabled
1. Safetynet Wireless Provider
They offer free smartphones to all eligible seniors in America, have a variety of plans or deals such as the basic plan which offers free cell phones, 750 free voice call minutes, and 500 free text messages every month.
2. Safelink Wireless
It is a popular provider for free cell phones among seniors. They provide free cell phones and 250 free voice minutes in a month.
3. Great Call
This network carrier is recognized for its senior friendliness. It offers limitless calls and text messages for Jitterbug smartphones which they give for free and are very popular amongst the elderly.
4. Entouch Wireless Providers
These providers offer free cellphones to senior citizens with amazing deals such as free 750 talk-time minutes and 500 free text messages per month. Their phones are specifically designed for the elderly who have a hearing impairment.
5. Consumer Cellular
It designs phones specifically for elderly people such as the Doro 7050 which have a bright display for great visibility. It offers cheap affordable plans with unlimited talk time going for only 20$ a month.
How to qualify for Lifeline Assistance
Criteria for qualification for the Lifeline Assistance Program vary per state however they all follow two general rules as their baseline:
i. Income-based eligibility
You qualify for Lifeline if your total household income is at or below the 135% mark of the federal poverty guidelines.
ii. Participation in Federal assistance programs
You qualify for a free government cell phone if you or any member of your household participates in Federal assistance programs.
You should try and fit in this category as it is much easier and qualification is almost guaranteed while the former requires extensive paperwork.
If you feel like you qualify or know of an elderly or disabled person who would benefit from the program, do not hesitate to begin applying.
What is the easiest cell phone for seniors?
It is almost impossible to decide which phone is best suited for seniors as many factors come into play when making the choice. The best phone really is whatever is best suited for the particular individual’s needs. Having said that, some of the easiest cell phones to use for seniors include:
- Alcatel GO FLIP – Easiest Overall Phone.
- Jitterbug Smart2 – Easiest Smartphone.
- Lively Flip – Easiest Flip Phone.
- Sonim XP3 – Best Hearing Aid Compatibility.
- Apple iPhone XR – Best Features.
Access to free cell phones is just as important to elderly and disabled citizens as it is to everyone else. However, contrary to how we may normally choose our cellular devices by looking deep into processing power and camera quality, when it comes to picking out a phone for the elderly or the disabled, we need to narrow it down to an individual’s needs and what really would come in handy. There are plenty of great options out there so all you have to do is a bit of research and you will quickly find the perfect match.