Low-income individuals living in the state of Michigan have quite a few options when it comes to free government cell phones and/or discounted phone service.
Free Government Phones
Through the Lifeline program, Michigan residents can opt to sign up for free cell phone services as offered through Assurance Wireless, ReachOut Wireless and SafeLink Wireless. All three programs are approved in the state of Michigan and all three wireless service providers not only provide a free cell phone but they also provide free airtime talk minutes. The number of talk minutes vary depending on the plan selected.
Discounted Phone Service
Michigan residents who opt not to participate in the free program can benefit from discounted home phone service. Through the Lifeline program, qualified Michigan residents can receive discounts off of their monthly home phone service. The discount varies depending on telephone service provider. To find out how much of a discount your telephone service provider offers, go to LifelineSupport.org and click the state of Michigan on their state map.
Once on the Telephone Assistance Programs for Low-Income Households page, choose your telephone service provider to see how much of a discount they offer. As mentioned earlier, the discounts vary. Sprint Nextel, for example, offers a $13.50 discount per month off of basic monthly service while Verizon offers a discount of $8.25.
If you do not find your current home phone service provider on the Lifeline Support website, that doesn’t mean your phone company is not providing lifeline discounts. The Lifeline Support list is not a complete listing of Michigan phone carriers. You can call your phone company and ask them about the Lifeline discount.
How to Qualify for Michigan’s Lifeline Program
The Lifeline/Link-Up program was created to help low-income individuals who might otherwise have a difficult time obtaining and keeping home phone service. Therefore, in order to qualify the household income cannot exceed 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines .
Applying for Lifeline
If your household income meets the qualifications for Lifeline, the next step is to complete the appropriate application. If you opt for the free wireless services we have to do is visit the appropriate website and complete their application.
If you decide to participate in the discounted home phone service, you can either contact your telephone service provider to request an application or you can you download an application from the Lifeline Support website.
Here is a link to the Michigan Lifeline Administration Service Application. They process applications for a host of phone companies ranging alphabetically from Ace Communications down to Wolverine Telephone Company. They do not process applications for companies like AT&T, Sprint, Nextel and Verizon.
Things to Know
- You can only participate in one Lifeline program per economic unit. In other words, you cannot participate in the free wireless program and the discounted home phone program.
- To participate in the free government phone program you must have a valid home address. Assurance, ReachOut and SafeLink Wireless will not ship cell phones to post office boxes or to a temporary residence such as a nursing home or rehab facility.
- After completing and submitting the application, it can take several weeks before your application is approved. During that period the time, if you do have a current home phone, please continue to keep up with your monthly payments.