Update: Care Wireless no longer participates in the free government phone program
What Care Wireless Offers
As mentioned above, Care Wireless provides a free cell phone but they also provide 250 minutes of talk time or the equivalent is 625 text messages.
In addition to free airtime their phones offer services such as Caller ID, Voice Mail, Three-Way Calling and free nationwide long distance.
Qualifying for Care Wireless
To qualify you must be a resident of Illinois. Care Wireless is available in Illinois. In addition to the residency requirements you must participate in at least one of the following government assistance programs:
- Food Stamps
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
- National School Free Lunch Program
- Bureau of Indian Affairs Programs
- Supplemental Social Security (SSI)
- Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Please be advised that if someone else in your economic unit is already participating in a Lifeline government phone program, you are not eligible for Care Wireless. Only one government program is allowable per economic unit.
Applying for Care Wireless
Care makes it very easy to apply. You have the option of enrolling online by visiting their website or you can call them using their toll-free number of 1-855-711-2222. If those options don’t suit your fancy you can download the Illinois enrollment Application and fax it or mail it back to them.
If you are accepted into the program and they ship a free cell phone to you, you are subject to an annual verification. They want to make sure you continue to meet the qualifying criteria for free government phones.
If you find that 250 airtime minutes is not enough to meet your monthly cell phone needs, you can purchase additional airtime ranging from $10 to $100 which gives you anywhere from 90 days to 365 days of phone service.
Additional airtime can be purchased online or by visiting a local retailer. Visit the Care Wireless website for a listing of retailers in your area.