Lifeline Phone Program Doomed?

By | September 23, 2016

Is the lifeline phone program doomed?  With all the talk of cutting entitlement programs, such a food, Medicare, and Medicaid, know that the free cell phone program will not be far behind.

It appears that those Is politicians with double pensions, and killer health benefits for life, have no problems, making sure the poor have nothing;  not even a way to call 911 if their baby is sick.  If you have one of these phones, keep it and when the program has ended, you can still get phone service for as cheap as 20$ from Assurance Wireless, or one of the other phone providers.

What the opponents of the program do not tell you is, this program has caused profits to soar for the companies, that are offering free cell phones and service.  Most people talk  much more than the 120 – 250 minutes  allotted.

Most people will opt to purchase more time, thus, the companies get new low-income customers they might have ordinarily not gotten. The phones though free, are quite inexpensive, and within a year will usually be upgraded to a better model.  Again, the phone provider is making a profit.


Is a Cell Phone A Luxury?

Those who want to end Lifeline phone program say a cell phone is a luxury, not a necessity; but is it?  With the end of public street phones, the cell phone industry really took off.  Think of it…when was the last time you saw a working pay phone in the US?  There was the rise of drug dealing, addiction, and crime, in many cities in the late 80s and 90s.

The pay phone was often the hang out place for dealers and the like.   People felt unsafe and didn’t want to use the phones, fearing being robbed or approached for money.  Many store owners removed the pay phones, hoping it would also cause the negative element to go elsewhere, and it worked.

Also constant vandalism made it an uphill battle to keep these phones operable.  So now how do you make a call, when you are not at home?  You can’t.  So I would say, a cell phone is not a luxury, it is a necessity.


Lifeline Phone Program Opposition

Tim Griffin, a Congressman from Arkansas, with other political leaders, have been quite vocal about bringing free government phone program to an end.  It is funny how the Congress which has at 12% approval rating, is spending so much time trying, to end the free phone program.  Seems like they should turn their focus, to passing job legislation, so more people don’t need government programs.

About Fraud

There has been a lot of abuse and fraud associated with the Lifeline program, but let’s get rid of the fraud and not the program.  The free phone providers are taking steps to crack down on this fraud, by requesting more verification such as SS numbers, zip code and documentation from government assistance programs.  Fraud hurts everyone and those who need help can not get it because of greed and dishonesty. This should weed out much of the dishonest in the program, but there is still no guarantee the program will be here tomorrow.

States Charging Fees



Some states have decided to charge Lifeline phone providers a surtax, so you may have to pay a few dollar for your free phone.  Seems like the State found a way to cash in on the same program they are trying to end!  Gotta love em!  The Lifeline phone program has been around for many years.  It has helped low-income families with discounts and free phone service for decades.   As of now, the free government cell phone program, seems to be safe.

 Free phone services for low-income families, and individual are available in  every U.S. state. If you don’t qualify for free services, there are discount services offered as well.



9 thoughts on “Lifeline Phone Program Doomed?

  1. Rachel

    My phone was stolen on aug 4th. I had tried to get a new phone on the line that day but its sim card was expired, i asked if i purchased a new phone if it would be activated that day and was assured that it would be. I attempted to activate a verizon phone a friend had and was told it would require amd byop sim kit and my number had been black listed for 3 days because i reported the phone stolen. I purchased the kits and called back and was told that the phone was ineligible. I found the old phone i had originally got with the plan and attempted to activate that one. Sim card expired so i wait 3 days to recieve a new one. Its now aug 12. The customer service rep takes my numbers and says the phone should work in 3 or 4 hours. 5 hours later i call to get the problem resolved. I get a new ticket number and am told call as soon as i can after 8:00am. I call at 9:30. No one knows why it isnt working. But after being transferred back into the que to recieve a new customer service rep who eventually hangs up on me, another rep that sent me to the call log request department after what seemed like pushing buttons repeatedly… I am waiting another 24 hours to see if this phone is on….
    WORST
    CUSTOMER
    SERVICE
    EVER!!!
    Best advice… remember that its free…

  2. Randy Ingles

    Lost my phone program says I can get it one time replacement. But when u click on site it gives u everything but instuctions. Help

  3. Pamela Wilson-Lipscomb Post author

    Helen, please contact the phone company you have service with to find out their policy on phone replacement and fees.

  4. Pamela Wilson-Lipscomb Post author

    Rob, 21.99 is not bad. I get my phone service from AT&T, and I pay $45 with insurance. If you qualify for a free government phone, Reachout Wireless has a large selection of popular phones many with large keys, camera’s, etc.

  5. Rob.Bartolotta

    During the last 5 years, I have used the reduced rate system through Verizon, but as of late they have been raising the rates upwardly. At this point, I’m paying 21.99 a month and beginning to feel the pinch of their economics. I’m not crazy about the tiny little phones with small numbers on them so, I keep looking for phones with a more pronounced keyboard. It looks like they are all small. I’d love to keep my land line, but all my friends and family want me to get one of those new cell phones; much to my dismay.
    The price of the Internet service has sky rocketed too. After reading about the Alabama Senator who wants to abolish the free phone system, I wonder if we could cancel some of his benefits and save some money too. Huh?! Good luck with that Hunh? Never the less, I will look at the models available and try to get you use to the tiny teeny phones. Civilization whoa!!!!

  6. Pamela Lipscomb Post author

    Walter, you have said a mouth full! The poor are often used as a scapegoat, in politics. My pastor often said, when you point your finger at someone, there are three pointing back at you. My hope is that the waste will be removed, and the program continue. Thanks for your comment.

  7. Walter Harris

    I personally thank the people that started the Lifeline program. it has helped me out tremendously. My phone IS my LIFELINE. These rich congressmen need to find something else to do with their time than to pick on poor people that are barely surviving day to day and don’t really have anything to look forward to.

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