You May Qualify for Help with Your Cell Phone Bill
- Posted: January 3, 2020
Everyone should have access to mobile phone service. Cell phones allow employees to connect with employers or hiring agents and keep us connected with friends and family members no matter where we or they are. Furthermore, phones with internet capabilities enable users to do a whole host of things like get directions, pay bills, and apply for jobs or other programs.
Because of these and so many other valuable uses of phones, the federal government and many state and local agencies have set up a number of programs to help those who need help paying their cell phones get that help. The following is a look at a few of those programs you or someone you love may qualify for:
Getting Help With Your Cell Phone Bill
- Federal Lifeline Program. Lifeline is a government assistance program that offers those who qualify significant monthly discounts on their home or cell phone service. With this program, you can cut your monthly cell phone bill down to under $10 a month and still enjoy great cell service and wifi connectivity. However, there are several key stipulations as this program is designed to help those who are in a low-income bracket and who have shown an inability to keep up with current cell phone rates. Applicants must have a household at or below 135% of the current national poverty line and will be asked for either proof of current income or for last year’s tax records. A good rule of thumb is if you qualify for SNAP or a similar government assistance program, then you’ll qualify for Lifeline.
- State Assistance. Many individual states now offer their own programs to help their lower-income residents get and stay connected with phone service. For example, Illinois has a LinkUp program that will pay upwards of $35 for installation costs while Arizona’s Telephone Assistance Program for Medically Challenged in Arizona will offer financial assistance both on installation costs and monthly service costs. Check your state to see what programs apply in your area. As with the federal Lifeline program, you will be expected to fill out several forms and show proof of income and proof hardship.
- Nonprofit Assistance. Some people don’t need long-term help but rather just need a little immediate help to cover phone bills during a rough time, such as following a medical accident or job loss. For these situations, there are a number of excellent national charities that will help you get back on your feet. Catholic Charities, Love INC, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, and United Way’s 2-1-1 line all have an established history of helping individuals and families overcome immediate hardships. Because these are nonprofits and you aren’t applying for longer-term help, there is a lower bar for qualification. Generally, applicants will just be asked to provide the past-due phone bill or bills and explain the current hardship. Most of the nonprofits will then directly pay the bill for those who qualify.
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