SafeLink Wireless was created by the folks at TracFone to provide free wireless phone service to folks who qualify. Prior to the advancement in wireless technology, the Lifeline program only pertained to land lines (you can read more about the LifeLine program here). With advancing technology and societal life style changes, TracFone realized that more and more people would benefit more from a free cell phone than free land line and thus created SafeLink Wireless.
Just to make things clear, TracFone provides the free phones at their own expense, but they do seek subsidy from the Universal Service Fund for the airtime minutes. TracFone believes that all Americans should have affordable access to wireless phone communications and it’s SafeLink’s mission to make it happen.
What SafeLink Wireless Offers
SafeLink has three airtime unit plans (plans may vary by state). The plans offer 68 minutes, 125 minutes or 250 airtime minutes each month. The airtime is replenished each month free of charge. Included in the airtime comes:
- Local calls
- National Long Distance
- Voice Mail
- Nationwide text (either .03 minutes or 1 minute per text)
- No Roaming Charges
- Free 911
- Directory assistance
- Roll over minutes (for all plans except the 250 plan)
- International Long distance calling included on the 68 minute plan.
You don’t have to stick with one plan. You can change your selection at any time.
Currently, SafeLink Wireless is available in 33 states with more states being added. In December of 2009 SafeLink was only available in 27 states. They have since added 6 more states and are looking to add several more. If this service is not currently available in your state, click the By States link above. As we add more and more programs to this site, you may find another free government phone program in your state that may work better for you.
Qualifying for the SafeLink Wireless Program
Although the requirements vary by state, in general, if you participate in any of the government sponsored public assistance programs such as Medicaid, Food Stamps, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Federal Housing/Section 8, National Free School Lunch, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or meet the requirement for the gross monthly income for the household, you most likely will qualify for SafeLink.
If you meet the qualification criterion, the next step is to apply. Visit their How to Apply page and insert your zip code. When you go to apply, you’ll see a box for a promo code. If you don’t have one, do a quick Google search for promo codes (here’s one I found when writing this article). By using the code you can get additional airtime.
If the free airtime provided by the program isn’t enough, you can always purchase airtime cards and add more time to your phone. Be aware, however, that if you opt for the 250 airtime minute plan and purchase additional airtime, you must use them by the end of the month. If you don’t use the time before the month ends, your airtime will not carry over. You lose any unused airtime and start fresh with 250 airtime minutes the next month.
Annual Verification of Eligibility
You will be required to verify that you are still eligible for the SafeLink Wireless program. The proof can be anything from a sworn statement or physical proof of income.
Lastly, if you decide that you no longer want to participate in the SafeLink program, you get to keep the phone. You can continue to purchase airtime and use it as you had before. The only difference is that you won’t get free airtime.