Alabama residents who are having a difficult time paying their phone bills may qualify for the Alabama Lifeline/Link-Up program.
Lifeline/Link-Up is a federal program administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The purpose is to provide telephone service for low-income individuals and families.
Free Government Phones
The state of Alabama has approved SafeLink Wireless, Q Link Wireless and Assurance Wireless to provide free phone service to qualified individuals. In other words, if you qualify, you will receive a free cell phone along with free airtime.
Discounted Phone Service
In addition to free phone service, Alabama residents may instead opt for the discounted phone service on their home phone lines. Each phone company provides discounts up to $13.50 per month off of basic phone services. To find out how much of a discount your home phone company offers, visit the USAC website’s state map and click on the state of Alabama. Select your phone company to see out how much of a discount they offer.
Phone Installation Discounts
Through the Link-Up portion of the program, qualified Alabama residents can take advantage of the home installation discounts. The Link-Up program will pay for up to 50% of the initial installation or activation fees for new phone service. The maximum they will pay, however, is $30 for new installations.
Qualifying for Free or Discounted Phone Service
Because the purpose of the Lifeline/Link-Up programs is to provide is to help low-income individuals with their phone bills, according to the Alabama Public Utilities Commission you must participate in one of the following government assistance programs to qualify:
- Food Stamps
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Section 8 Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
Applying for Free Government Phones
To apply for the free cell phones as offered through Assurance Wireless, Q Link Wireless and SafeLink Wireless you must visit the appropriate website and complete the application. They do require that you have a valid home address. Therefore, if you’re using either a PO Box or are temporarily housed in a rehab or nursing home facility, you will not be able to receive a free cell phone.
Applying for Discounted Phone Service
To apply for discounted phone service, contact your phone company and request an application. Once you complete the application and return it to the phone company along with documentation proving your eligibility, it will take a few weeks before the application is reviewed processed and approved. The name on the phone application must be the same name as the recipient of the government assistance program. If the name differs, the application will not be approved.
It takes several weeks for the application to be reviewed and processed. If you have any questions regarding the status of your application, contact your phone company.