There is a newcomer to the free government phone service providers. In the past, qualified individuals could obtain a free government phone and free airtime through Assurance Wireless, SafeLink Wireless or ReachOut Wireless. Now they have another option, Q Link wireless. The Federal Lifeline Program makes the Q Link Wireless service possible.
What Q Link Wireless Offers
Just like the other free government phone programs, Q Link Wireless offers free airtime and free cell phones. They currently offer three free airtime plans (68 minutes, 125 minutes and 250 minutes). The number of free talk minutes depends on the plan you choose and your state’s requirements.
All plans include local calls, 3-way calling, caller ID, national long distance, voice mail, nationwide texting, free 911 and 411 directory assistance. Additionally, two of the plans (68 and 125 monthly minutes) allow rollover minutes. In other words, you can carry over unused time from one month to another. The 250 monthly minute plan doesn’t offer rollover minutes.
Monthly minutes are automatically added to your Q Link phone service within the first three days of the new month.
Qualifying for Q Link Wireless
Like the other free government phone programs, qualification is based on participating in an approved government assistance plan and/or total household income (which is usually a percentage of the Federal Poverty Guidelines). A quick list of approved government assistance plans are listed below.
Keep in mind that your state may offer additional qualifying assistance programs and set the annual household income requirement.
- Federal Public Housing Assistance/Section 8
- Food Stamps
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- National School Lunch (free program only)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
To see if you qualify in your state, please review your state’s eligibility criteria. Please be advised that once you qualify for the Q Link Wireless program, you are subject to an annual re-verification process to ensure you continue to meet the eligibility criteria.
Q Link Wireless Refer-A-Friend Program
This is something unique to Q Link Wireless. They have a Refer-A-Friend program. If you refer a friend and they sign up for the Q Link service, you earn 100 Q Link bonus minutes added to their phone for each and every referral. Your referred friend will get 30 Q Link minutes on their phone too.
All you have to do is go to Q Link’s Refer-A-Friend program and fill in the necessary information and click “Send.” One caveat, your friend must not be of the same household as you.
After meeting the criterion for Q Link Wireless, visit their website to sign up.
Things to Keep in Mind
- You can only sign up for one free government phone program per economic unit.
- You must have a valid home address. Q Link Wireless will not ship cell phones to P.O. Boxes.
Word of Caution
Because I had a few questions about Q Link Wireless, I decided to call them to get a quick response. After being on hold for a short period of time, I received a recorded message stating, “No one is available to answer my call. Please leave a message and someone will return your call as soon as possible.” Hmmm, that sounds a little fishy.
I made the call at 10:31 AM on a Tuesday (February 7, 2012). According to their website, customer service is available from 9am-6pm EST Monday through Friday and 9am to 2pm on Saturday. I didn’t leave a message but decided to email their support department instead. I sent an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope they respond. When and if they do, I’ll update this post.
In the meanwhile, you might want to use one of the other free government services such as SafeLink Wireless, Assurance Wireless or ReachOut Wireless. They have a proven track record.
Hopefully Q Link Wireless will allay my fears and I’ll be able to give them a two thumbs up. Right now, I’m not so sure.