A cell phone is a significant expense for many individuals and households in Kentucky. However, not having a phone is not only difficult; it can be a safety concern if there is an emergency.
Since 1985, the federal government has offered the Lifeline Assistance Program. Originally it was designed to help individuals with reduced costs of landline phones. Today, it includes a free government cell phone, phone calls, text messaging, and the ability to access the internet from your own smartphone. There are some requirements to qualify for a free government phone and plan, and people in Kentucky often have questions about the program.
Do I Qualify?
To qualify for a free government cell phone, the individual must meet specific requirements. These include living in Federal Public Housing (Section 8) or participating in Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), meeting eligibility programs for residents of federally recognized tribal lands, or have a total household income level that is at or less than 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. There are other factors as well, including qualifying in Kentucky or receiving Veterans or Survivors Pension.
Can I Choose Any Phone?
There are several different smartphones that individuals qualifying for a free government phone can select. These phones offer the latest features and are identical to the same model of smartphone offered by the carrier for paid cell phone plans.
The Lifeline plans include unlimited text and calls, with the ability to get online, stay in touch, and add the apps and features you want to customize your phone.