Georgia residents have a wide selection of free and/or discounted phone services to choose from. Because the free government phone services are approved in the state of Georgia, residents can elect to receive free government phones with free airtime or discounts on their home phone service through the Lifeline/Link Up programs.
Georgia Link Up Services
The Georgia Link Up program provides a discount off of the initial installation or activation fees on home phone lines. According to the Georgia Public Utilities Commission website, AT&T Georgia customers get 100% off of their initial installation through the linkup program. All other phone companies offer 50% or $30 off of the initial set up whichever is less. It seems that Georgia and AT&T have a special relationship and their customers reap the benefits from it.
Lifeline Program Benefits
Georgia residents are fortunate in that not only can they participate in the free wireless cell phone programs offered by Assurance Wireless, ReachOut Wireless and SafeLink Wireless. Residents also have the option to participate in a discounted home phone service. Keep in mind, however, that you can only participate in one Lifeline program at a time. Therefore, if you have a discounted home phone service through Lifeline, you cannot participate in the free wireless program too. You will have to remove yourself from the discounted Lifeline program in order to sign up for the free government phone wireless program.
Qualifying for Lifeline/Link Up
Lifeline and Linkup were designed to help low-income individuals and families with their telecommunications needs. Therefore, in order to qualify for the services in Georgia, you must be the recipient of one of at least one of the following public assistance programs:
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Food Stamps
- Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Senior citizen low-income discount plan offered by the local gas or power company
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Georgia Discounted Phone Service
If you’d rather not utilize the free cell phone service and opt for home phone discounts, you can save anywhere from $10 or more per month off of your basic monthly phone bill. The amount of savings varies depending on which phone company you use.
To find out how much you could potentially save on your home phone bill, go to the Universal Service Administration Company (USAC) website and click on the state of Georgia. Next, select your phone company or shop around to see what type of discounts each phone company is offering.
With just a few clicks you’ll find out that Sprint Nextel provides basic phone service for $16.50 a month. They also provide additional details on various talk plans. Verizon Wireless, on the other hand, offers an $8.25 discount off of your basic monthly service. AT&T and Frontier communications both offer a $13.50 saving off of the basic monthly bill.
The phone company listings on the USAC website may not be complete. If your phone service provider is not listed, call your phone company to find out what type of Lifeline discounts they offer.
Applying for Georgia Lifeline/Link Up
The applications for this program are not centrally located. In other words, you have to contact the telephone service provider and complete their application (some applications may be found on the USAC website). Once your application along with your backup documentation is reviewed and approved, it can take several weeks before you either receive your free phone or your home landline service is discounted. In the meanwhile, make sure to pay your monthly phone bills until the new service goes into effect.