UPDATE: Budget Mobile no longer provides service for free government phones.
Budget Mobile has joined the ranks of phone companies offering free government cell phone service. In other words, they participate in the Federal Lifeline/Link Up phone program. In addition to providing a free phone, Budget Mobile offers 250 free airtime minutes.
Currently there offering service in the state of:
· Rhode Island
· South Carolina
· South Dakota
Qualifying for a Budget Mobile Phone Service
The qualification criteria for free cell phone varies by state. In general, if you receive any of the following government assisted programs more than likely you’re eligible to receive a free cell phone through budget mobile:
1. Temporary Assistance to needy Families (TANF)
2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
3. Food Stamps
5. Senior Citizen Low-Income Discount Plan (offered by the local gas or power company)
6. Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
7. Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
You may also qualify if your income is 135% below the Federal Poverty Level.
Applying for Free Cell Phone Service
If you live in one of the states listed above, complete the Budget Mobile online application. Before you complete the application you must first confirm that neither you nor anyone in your household is currently participating in a free cell phone program. This program is limited to one phone per household.
After confirming that you are not currently participating in a free cell phone program, select the participating government assistance program that makes you eligible to receive the cell phone. Keep in mind that you will need to provide actual proof of participation prior to receiving your cell phone.
Complete the application and submit it to Budget Mobile. After you receive your free cell phone, 250 airtime minutes will be added to your phone monthly. If you wish to purchase additional time above and beyond the 250 minutes, go to the Budget Mobile website to add additional time.
As of December 2012, Budget Mobile offers additional minutes and/or text time as follows:
50 Voice Minutes – $5.00
100 Voice Minutes – $10.00
150 Voice Minutes – $15.00
1000 Texts – $10.00
Unlimited Talk and Text – $25.00
There’s no monthly fee for having the Budget Mobile phone and phone service will remain in effect for 12 months. At the end of the 12-month period, you must re-certify to prove eligibility.
If you use a hearing aid and need a hearing a compatible phone, budget mobile offers a variety of hearing aid compatible phones.
If you’re not familiar if you’re new to using cell phones and are not familiar with how they work, they also have an online manual to help you learn how to use your free cell phone.