Maryland’s state government website proudly states that they do better than all the other states in America, as far as the Economy is concerned. That is quite a bold proclamation, one which many other states cannot make. The major driving forces responsible for Maryland’s economic growth over the years have been Information Technology, aerospace, defense, and telecoms. These are very big industries and they bring in a lot of cash to Maryland’s economy. Sadly, not everyone is a beneficiary of this growth, as there many people in this state who are either unemployed or live below the federal poverty guidelines. Such people are in dire need of some form of government assistance in the areas of housing, feeding, medical care, and of course telecoms. Luckily, there are quite a good number of lifeline assistance cellphone companies who offer free cellphones to eligible persons. Some of these companies issue free cellphones, while others offer significant discounts on their regular charges. All in all, they try to ease off the financial burden the poor people of Maryland in the little way they can. In this article, we will be discussing free government cellphones in Maryland.
What Companies Offer Free Cellphones in Maryland?
We have taken out the time to do some research on your behalf, and have listed out the companies that offer free cellphones in Maryland. The cellphone companies listed below offer different plans on text messages, voice calls, data bundles, and SMS. You need to check out each of them to see the carrier that offers you the best deal, based on your communication needs and unique situation. Below are the cellphone companies that offer free phones in Maryland.
- Access Wireless
- American Assistance
- Assist Wireless
- Assurance Wireless
- Cintex Wireless
- EnTouch Wireless
- Life Wireless
- Q Link Wireless
- Safelink Wireless
- StandUp Wireless
- Tag Mobile
- Tempo Communications
- Terracom Wireless
- True Wireless
- US Connect
Lifeline Discount Companies in Maryland
It’s unfortunate that you may be eligible for a free government cellphone in Maryland, but none of the cellphone companies listed above may cater to your area of residence. This is quite sad, but all hope is not lost. There are other lifeline assistance cellphone companies in Maryland that can be of help. These companies do not offer free cellphones, but they can give you very huge discounts on their regular charges. These discounts come in the form of very cheap phone calls, data bundles, and a number of text messages. They may not be free, but the discount would allow you to save a whole lot of money of you were to be on a regular cellphone plan. The cellphone companies that offer discounts to eligible individuals have been listed out below.
- S. Connect
Eligibility Criteria for a Free Government Cellphone in Maryland
You may be wondering how you can qualify for a free government cellphone in Maryland. Well, there are two means by which you can be eligible. These include –
- Being a beneficiary or member of a government lifeline assistance program in Maryland
- If your annual income is at or below the federal poverty guidelines
If you fit into any of these two, then you are eligible to apply for a free government cellphone in Maryland. If you are not, then do not bother applying, as you will not be approved for a free cellphone.
Eligibility Guidelines for Maryland Lifeline Service
Being a resident of Maryland who lives on or below the federal poverty guidelines, you can qualify for a free government cellphone if you belong to one or more of the programs listed below.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps or SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
- Veterans Pension and Survivor’s Benefit
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance (BIA)
- Tribally Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
- Tribal Head Start (only those households meeting its income qualifying standard)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
There used to be other government programs that could have granted you eligibility, unfortunately, they have been made void since 2017, all thanks to federal laws. These programs are listed below.
- Maryland Energy Assistance Program
- Medical Assistance
- Public Assistance to Adults
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
- Supplemental Security Income
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Temporary Cash Assistance
- Temporary Disability Assistance Program
Eligibility for a Free Government Cellphone in Maryland Based on Annual Household Income
If you’re a resident of Maryland, and your yearly income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines, then you are also eligible to apply for a free government cellphone. We have placed the numbers for you below. Take a look at them and see where you will fit in.
Members in Household: Annual income
1 member : $17,226
2 members : $23,274
3 members : $29,322
4 members : $35,370
5 members : $41,418
6 members : $47,466
7 members : $53,514
8 members ; $59,562
For each additional member add $6,048 annually.
How to Qualify for a Free Government Cellphone in Maryland
Below are the steps you need to take to get your free government cellphone in Maryland.
Select Your Preferred Cellphone Company
We have already listed out the cellphone companies in Maryland that offer free lifeline assistance phones. If you are within the eligibility bracket, then the first thing you need to do is to choose your preferred cellphone company. Many of these companies offer pretty much the same packages based on voice calls, text messages, and data bundles. However, there are slight differences between what they offer. Be advised to carefully go through each of their packages to spot the unique differences between them. One or two of these minor differences could be just what you need. So choose wisely. You can visit each of the carrier’s website to see the unique packages they have and make your choice accordingly. After you have chosen your preferred carrier, you can proceed to the next step.
Request for an Application Form
Now that your mind is made up on the cellphone company you want, the next step would be to request an application form from them. You can visit their physical office to get an application form or visit their website and print it out. If you visit their physical office, they will hand you a form upon request. It is absolutely free.
Fill out the Application Form
There are spaces on the application form for you to fill out all the necessary information. You will be required to provide your full names, residential address, date of birth, number of people in your household, lifeline assistance programs you belong to, your employment status, current place of work (if you are employed), and your annual income. All the information on the application form has to be absolutely accurate. This is because every information you provide on the form will be investigated and verified, and if there is any false information on the form, your application process could be delayed. If you intentionally provide false information, then you will be automatically disqualified for a free government cellphone.
Attach Relevant Proof of Eligibility
When the form has been filled out, you will need to provide proof of your eligibility. There are several documents you may attach to prove this. If you are applying based on your annual income, then you will need to attach copies of your past year’s bank statement (your salary account statement). Your bank will release it to you upon request. You can either get a physical copy from any of your bank’s branches or have it sent to your email and have it printed out. On the other hand, if you are applying based on your participation in any of the above-listed lifeline-assisted programs, then you will need to attach your membership card to the application form and submit. Keep in mind that you can only attach original copies of your proof of eligibility (bank statements and membership card). Photocopies will not be accepted. Your eligibility will also have to be re-certified every year. This is because your financial situation can improve at any time, and you may lo longer be living on or below the federal poverty guidelines in your state. If this is the case, then you will no longer be eligible for a free government cellphone.
Wait for Your Free Cellphone
After the application form has been filled and all the relevant proof has been attached, all that’s left is to submit and wait.
The processing time will be determined by the cellphone company you choose to go with. Generally, if everything is in order, you will be approved in a matter of weeks.
Basically, all you need to get a free government cellphone in Maryland are listed below –
- Be eligible (based on annual income or participation in any of the relevant government programs)
- Choose a cellphone company and apply
- Wait for approval