Residents in Nevada can enjoy the benefits of free government cell phones as offered through SafeLink Wireless, Q Link Wireless or ReachOut Wireless. In addition to providing free cell phones, these companies offer free airtime. The amount of free air time varies depending on the plan selected.
As of February 2012, Assurance Wireless is not yet approved to offer free cell phones in Nevada, but check their website periodically because they’re adding new states all the time.
Discounted Phone Service in Nevada
The Lifeline/Link-Up Program makes the free government cell phones and discounted home phone service possible. The program assists low-income individuals in securing home phones that otherwise might have been financially difficult to obtain.
If you opt not to participate in the free government phone program you may be eligible to take advantage of discounted monthly phone service. The amount of the monthly discount varies by phone company. If you visit the Universal Services Administrative Company’s website you can quickly determine how much of a discount your phone company offers.
For example, through AT&T you’ll pay between $3.50 and $4.75 for basic service while Filer Mutual Telephone Company charges $14.28 for basic service. Other companies such as Century Link will deduct $10.50 from your basic monthly service charge.
Check out the USAC website for a comprehensive listing of phone companies servicing the Nevada area.
In addition to lower monthly phone bills, you may be able to offset up to 50% of your phone installation cost through the Link-Up program. The maximum the program will pay, however, is $30 unless you live on federally recognized tribal lands and qualify for extended LinkUp benefits.
Through extended LinkUp, eligible individuals can offset up to $100 of the installation costs.
Qualifying for Free/Discounted Phone Service
Since this program applies to low-income individuals, to qualify you must participate in at least one of the following government assistance programs:
- Federal Public Housing Assistance / Section 8
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- National School Lunch (free program only)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Additional eligibility may apply to residents of federally recognized tribal lands
Applying for Service
If you wish to participate in the free government cell phone program as provided through SafeLink Wireless, Q Link Wireless or ReachOut Wireless, visit their website and complete their online application.
If you wish to enroll in the Nevada discounted phone program, call your phone company and request an application. Complete and return the application along with the necessary documentation as soon as possible. It takes several weeks before the discount shows up on your bill.
- You may only participate in one Lifeline Program. Therefore you have to choose between the free or discounted phone services, you can’t enroll in both simultaneously.
- Read the one requirement for receiving free government cell phones before applying for SafeLink Wireless.
- The name of the person participating in the qualifying government assistance program must be the same name on the phone bill (except if the benefits are in the name of a child).