says 22 Million Needy Americans Unaware of Free Cell Phone Program from Federal Government

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Experts estimate that 22 million needy Americans have not signed up for a free cell phone from the U.S. government's Lifeline program, even though they are eligible.

Lifeline free phone user

A happy senior citizen who knew about the Lifeline cell phone program.

The LifeLine program is one of America’s best-kept secrets. Not only can you get a free cell phone, but you can also get up to 250 free minutes of air time every month.

Nearly eight million needy Americans have received free cell phones and free monthly minutes, thanks to the little-known federal government programs called Lifeline and Link-Up. But estimates that at least another 22 million haven’t signed up, even though they are eligible.

“The LifeLine phone service is one of America’s best-kept secrets,” said Mark Henry, Editor at, the nation’s leading independent source of information on the program. “Not only can you get a free cell phone, but you can also get up to 250 free minutes of air time every month.” is working to get the word out to as many of those 22 million eligible low income people as possible. The company’s website answers dozens of frequently asked questions, including who qualifies, how to apply and where to send an application.

“The old adage, ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,’ doesn’t apply to Lifeline,” Henry said. “The rules vary slightly in the 34 participating states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, but, in general, a person qualifies if he or she is already in another state or federal aid program.” That includes food stamps, public housing or Medicaid, or if their household income is at or below 135-150 percent of federal poverty guidelines for the specific state.

Everyone in the U.S. who owns a telephone pays for the Lifeline program, established by the Federal Communications Commission in 1997 to bring quality telephone service to every American. Listed as the Universal Service Fund fee, a few cents are added to every landline and cell phone bill every month. All those pennies turn into billions of dollars contributed to LifeLine/Link-Up.

Three major companies certified by the participating states - Safelink Wireless, Assurance Wireless and ReachOut Wireless - are aggressively marketing the phones in both English and Spanish, and the program is starting to catch on. Many needy people have been helped by Lifeline, including single parents, the disabled, homeless and unemployed. Still, the Lifeline cell phone program has a long way to go in helping all those who need assistance.

“Only recently have companies been able to offer mobile phones instead of landlines to people in need,” Henry said. “Having a cell phone is no longer considered a luxury -- it’s necessary for vital communications and emergency situations.”

About is dedicated to spreading the word about this valuable, yet underused, Lifeline phone service by providing comprehensive information to help help those in need understand how to get their free cell phone.

For inquiries or additional information about, please contact:
Mark Henry


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