If you live in the state of Tennessee you can take advantage of the free government cell phone offers as presented by SafeLink Wireless and Assurance Wireless. Both companies offer free cell phones to qualified Tennessee residents. Along with the free cell phone comes free airtime. The amount of airtime varies depending on which plan you select.
Discounted Home Phone Service
If you choose not to participate in the free government cell phone programs you can still earn discounts on your existing home phone line. Through the Lifeline and Link-Up programs, your phone company is authorized to offer discounts to qualified individuals of up to $13.50 off of your home phone service.
The discounts vary by phone service provider. For example, according to USAC, Cinergy offers a monthly discount of $8.25 and United Telephone Co. offers a $13.50 discount. To find out how much of a discount your phone company offers, visit the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) website. USAC co-administers the Lifeline/Link-Up Programs along with the Federal Communications Commission.
Once you’re on the USAC website click on the state of Tennessee from the US map to find your home phone company. If your phone company is not listed on the site, give them a call to find out how much of a discount they offer. Although the USAC site is very helpful it is not necessarily a complete list of all phone companies.
Qualifying for Free or Discounted Phone Service
The Lifeline/Link-Up program is for low-income individuals who otherwise would have a tough time paying their phone bill. Therefore, Tennessee residents that participate in any of the following government assistance programs are automatically eligible for the Lifeline program:
- Food Stamps,
- Supplemental Security Income,
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF),
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP),
- National Free School Lunch, or
- Live in Section 8 Federal housing
If you don’t participate in any of the above programs but your household income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines, it will also be eligible for the discounted or free government phone program.
Applying for Free or Discounted Phone Service
If you are interested in the free phone program, visit the SafeLink Wireless or Assurance Wireless website and complete their online applications. For those interested in the discounted home phone line contact your telephone service provider. They will send you an application for completion. Once you’ve completed and submitted the application, it takes several weeks for it to be processed.
If you have any questions regarding the application procedure or the stats of your application, contact your phone company for additional information.