Verizon is an American telecommunication company that participates in the lifeline program to empower the less fortunate citizens to get low-cost communication services. People have different financial capabilities. Some can afford expensive communication packages and phones. In contrast, others can only rely on the free government phones and communication package subsidies to stay connected with their workmates, friends, and family members.
Lifeline program operates countrywide, although not everyone qualifies for the program. According to Universal Service Administrative Company (the body that administers the lifeline program), over 12.6 million household beneficiaries of the program out of the qualifying 46 million households got the chance in 2015. Therefore, the largest number of eligible homes was not lucky enough to enter the program that year.
The government of the United States contracts various companies to offer lifeline services. Verizon is among the major companies that provide services, such as Assurance Wireless and Safelink Wireless. Although Assurance Wireless and Safelink Wireless are the biggest lifeline service providers with millions of subscribers, Verizon still contributes a lot to the program, as we shall see later in this article. Verizon offers lifeline services via Safelink Wireless and Assurance Wireless service providers.
What is Verizon Wireless Free Government Phone?
Verizon Wireless Lifeline service refers to the program whereby low-income households can get Verizon wireless discounted phone services. The less fortunate can get in touch with their friends and families like any other able American. Also, eligible Americans can get a free phone from the government. Verizon’s wireless lifeline program covers New York, North Dakota, Iowa, and Wisconsin states.
To get a Verizon lifeline plan, you have to call the toll-free number (1-800-417-3849) and inquire whether the company offers the services in your area. If you qualify for the program, you can get the essential free government phone and get 250 minutes of calls and unlimited texts.
If you can upgrade the free mobile phone, then it is allowed. Again, you can also bring your phone (BYOP) when registering for the service and not necessarily getting the free phone. Moreover, one can select from a variety of phones that fit your requirements.
As a beneficiary, you can only get one cell phone in the government Lifeline program. Also, only one family member in a household can get a free phone and services. It means that the federal government allows only one lifeline account for each home.
Are there any restrictions to joining the Verizon Lifeline service?
Yes. As I mentioned earlier, not everybody can get a free phone and the discounted phone services. Various restrictions regulate the process to ensure that only those in need of free phones can benefit from the service.
First of all, every eligible household can only have one lifeline account. That means if a mother benefits from the service, the husband or their children cannot get the service. They can solely rely on their mother’s account where necessary. The service is also not transferable to another member.
Furthermore, the authorities usually review eligibility every year, and some families can have their services canceled and others recruited in the program. Violating the rule can lead to your de-enrollment from the program.
Secondly, you can only benefit from the Verizon wireless lifeline program if you live within the areas covered by the company. The states that can benefit from the Verizon Wireless lifeline program are New York, North Dakota, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
It means that if you are outside the states mentioned above, then you may have to look for other Lifeline service providers. Moreover, you can only receive the service from only one service provider. You cannot have Verizon and then proceed to get another account with AT&T or any other company.
You also need to present proper documentation during the registration. Fake documentation will disqualify you, and you will face the law. One can pay a fine or get a jail term. It is that serious so that only the eligible Americans can get help.
What requirements do I need to qualify?
Qualifications for the Verizon lifeline program differ from state to state, and thus there is a need to check whether you qualify according to your state. To get a Verizon wireless free government phone and discounted phone plans, you must meet various requirements.
To participate in the lifeline program, you must have an income that is 135% or below. According to the Federal Poverty Guidelines, the people who fall in that population are poor and need assistance to make their lives better.
However, through FCC, the government temporarily waived the requirement for consumers who want to benefit from the program based on their income. You must provide at least three consecutive months of income documentation during the application process.
Alternatively, you can qualify for the program if you participate in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Federal Public Housing Assistance, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, the Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefits.
i) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program refers (SNAP) to the federal government’s nutrition assistance program that provides eligible low-income individuals and families with a Benefits Transfer card. The beneficiaries can use the card like a debit card to purchase suitable food in authorized food stores.
ii) Federal Public Housing Assistance
Federal Public Housing Assistance helps in subsidizing rents for low-income families and individuals. Cities and state public housing authorities have the mandate to administer the program under the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Medicaid is a program by the individual states and the federal government to help children, low-income adults, elderly adults, pregnant women, and people with disabilities to access medical services.
iv) Supplemental Security Income
Supplemental Security Incomeis a USA government program that helps the blind, the aged, and the individuals with disabilities, which have very little or no income, by providing cash to meet basic needs for clothing, food, and shelter.
v) Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit program is a tax-free benefit payable to a low-income, un-remarried living spouse or unmarried child (ren) of a deceased Veteran with wartime service. Additionally, people in particular Tribal Programs can qualify, whereby the Native American tribal communities benefit from the programs.
As a beneficiary, you must produce credentials from the Food Distribution Programs on Indian Reservations, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal groups, or the Head Start program.
Generally, you need to use the National Verifier application system, which usually certifies and recertifies the subscribers’ eligibility yearly. You can always visit lifeline support and click on the “Do I Qualify?” tab. The site also gives you the available lifeline service providers in your region when you tap on the “Companies Near Me”.
How much can I save?
There is a lot that you can save on the Verizon Wireless lifeline program. You can get a $9.25 discount on the monthly phone plans and save a lot. You can also save a $20 monthly discount when you subscribe to Verizon Fios internet service. Additionally, Verizon waives the router rental charges for 60 days upon subscribing to Verizon Fios. People in the Tribal lands can even qualify for more discounts.
You can generally save a lot on the Verizon Wireless lifeline program compared to subscribing to the typical Verizon plans. For example, the communication plan for “Your Fios TV” costs $50.00 per month, while “More Fios TV” costs $70.00 per month.
To get the “The Most Fios TV,” you have to part with $90.00 per month. The Verizon 55+ plan requires subscribers to part with $50 per month, whereby the program includes unlimited talk, text, and 4G LTE data.
What are the monthly fees for Verizon Lifeline?
Verizon Fios internet for low-income earners includes;
- Monthly 200/200 Mbps for $19.99 with autopay,
- Monthly 400/400 Mbps for $39.99 with autopay, and
- Monthly data of up to 940/880 Mbps for $59.99 with autopay.
Verizon’s lifeline plan costs you $25, and Verizon usually refers to it as the $25 Plan. You only pay $15.75 per month after getting a discount. There is also a $35 one-time activation fee that you must pay in the process. Fortunately, the Tribal Land subscribers can receive a 100% discount on the one-time activation fee. The plan includes the following;
- 1000 monthly anytime minutes
- Domestic long-distance calls
- Unlimited text messaging
- Unlimited nights and weekends
- Unlimited Local Mobile to Mobile Calling Minutes
- Overages: After the plan minutes run out, you’ll pay 45¢ per minute
Verizon also has a Verizon Lifeline Home Phone Discount program that costs $10.74 per month upon receiving a discount. You also have to pay a $35 one-time activation fee. The program requires you to have a home phone device.
Again, the program covers Connecticut, Massachusetts, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Virginia.
Lifeline program is one of the best aid programs that low-income Americans benefit a lot by getting cheap communication packages and free phones. It would be excellent if you met specific laid down eligibility criteria to benefit from the program. The most beneficiaries are the people in the Tribal lands.
You cannot have more than one lifeline account per household. The lifeline programs help the beneficiaries to save a lot on communication expenses. Verizon’s wireless lifeline program does not cover all the states of America.