Residents of the state of New Mexico are unable to participate in the free government cell phone programs as offered through Assurance Wireless, SafeLink Wireless and ReachOut Wireless. As of this writing (July 2011), the phone companies are not approved to provide free cell phone service made available to other states via the Lifeline/Link-Up Programs.
Although New Mexico residents cannot participate in the free government cell phone program, they can take advantage of discounted home phone service. In addition to discounted phone services as provided through Lifeline, residents can participate in the Link-Up program which helps to offset 50% of the cost of initial phone installation (up to $30). There are additional discounts for individuals living on federally recognized tribal lands.
Discounted Telephone Rates
The home phone discounts vary from service provider to service provider. Some phone companies such as CellularOne charges eligible residents $1 a month (plus applicable taxes and fees) for basic phone service. Other carriers such as Frontier Communications offer monthly discounts of as much $20.78.
To find out how much of a discount your phone company offers, visit the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) website, LifelineSupport.org. The USAC and the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) co-administer the Lifeline program.
Once you get to the website, click the state of New Mexico on their US map. It will bring you to a page where you can search for and select your phone company to see how much of a discount they offer and how to qualify. If you don’t see your phone company on the list, call your company to find out about the Lifeline discounts they offer (the USAC website list isn’t necessarily a complete listing of participating phone carriers in New Mexico).
Qualifying for Home Phone Discounts
To qualify for the program, you must participate in one at least one government assistance program which includes, but is not limited to:
- Federal Public Housing
- Food Stamps
- Supplemental Security Income
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- National School Free Lunch Program
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Applying for Discounted Home Phone Service
To apply you must contact your phone company and ask for the Lifeline application. Once completed, return it along with the necessary documentation. You’ll need proof of income or proof of government assistance program participation for your application to be processed.
Please be advised that it takes several weeks for the application to be processed. If you have any questions regarding the status of your application call your phone company.