Unfortunately for residents of New Mexico who live below the Federal Poverty lines, there are no free government cellphones or services available to them. There is a little bit of good news though, they can still be eligible for a discounted government home phone service. Assurance Wireless, Reach Out and Safe Link provide discounts on cellphone charges in the state. Because New Mexico has the second-highest rate of children under 18 living in poverty, and that a staggering 18.2% of the total population live below the poverty lines, you would wonder why the lifeline assistance free government cellphone program hasn’t taken effect in the state. Some may argue that the poverty rate in New Mexico has dropped in the past 4 years, and that’s why they have been exempted from the free cellphone program. In 2016, the poverty level in the state stood at 19.8%, but as of today, it is 18.2%. The difference is quite insignificant, being that it’s just over 1%. This is not enough reason for the state to be neglected.
What is a Free Government Cellphone Program?
For those who don’t know, the free government cellphone program was designed to provide free cellphones and services to low-income earners in several states in America. The service is available in most states, however, states like New Mexico are yet to be a part of this program. The free government cellphone program is under the umbrella of U.S.A.C (Universal Service Administrative Company) and lifeline. There are plans underway to ensure low-income residents of New Mexico can access free government cellphones. Hopefully, this will be possible shortly.
Which Cellphone Companies are Part of the Free Government Cellphone Program in America?
All across the country, many cellphone providers offer free government assistance cellphones. The most popular of them are listed below.
As soon as the New Mexico cellphone program kicks off, you can expect the above-mentioned carriers to partake.
What Do I Need to be Eligible for a Free Government Cellphone in New Mexico?
Although New Mexico isn’t part of the free government cellphone program yet, it will be soon. If you live below the poverty lines and you’re a resident of the state, you will need to be prepared. New Mexico may become a part of the program sooner than you think. To be eligible for a free government cellphone in New Mexico, you must either be income-eligible or be a participant of one of the lifeline assistance programs in the state. Keep in mind that you may only get one free government-issued cellphone per household, and not per members of the household. You will also need to have a physical mailing address to be eligible.
For you to be eligible for a free government cellphone when the program kicks off in New Mexico, your total household income must not be above 135% of the federal poverty lines.
If you belong to one or more of the government assistance programs listed below, then you can be eligible for a free government cellphone in New Mexico.
- 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)
What Do I Need to Do to Apply?
If you’re sure you are eligible for a free government cellphone, the first thing you need to do is wait for the program to commence in New Mexico. Besides that, here are the other steps you need to take.
Choose Your Preferred Carrier
As you would expect, there will be different cellphone companies who will partake in the free government cellphone program in New Mexico. You can’t get a free cellphone from more than one of them so you will have to choose a company that will offer you the best deal according to your unique situation. With each cellphone company comes different plans in talk-time, SMS, and data bundles. Be sure to go through each of the companies and understand each of the plans they offer to determine which is best for you.
Fill the Application Form
After you have chosen your preferred cellphone company, the next step would be to apply for a free cellphone. You don’t have to visit their physical office to apply, all you need to do is visit their website and print out the application form. All the information you provide must be accurate. If you provide false information, you will be at risk of disqualification. The information required from you will include your full names, date of birth, residential address, type of residence, employment status, name of employer, how much you earn per year, and several people in your household.
Attach Relevant Documents
After you have filled out the application form, you will need to attach some relevant documents before the form is submitted. These documents will serve as proof of your eligibility. If you are applying based on your income, you will need to attach original copies of your recent bank statements. You can request this from your bank and they will provide it immediately. If you are applying based on your participation in one or more of the lifeline assistance programs mentioned earlier, you will need to attach your membership card to the form. Other relevant documents may include your home utility bills which can be used as proof of residence.
Submit the Form
After you have provided all the relevant information and documents, you will have to mail out the form to the lifeline assistance cellphone company you have chosen. Before you submit, make sure you go through the information you provided in the form to be sure there are no errors.
Wait for Your Free Cellphone
You will have to wait for a few weeks for your application to be accepted or rejected. If it is accepted, your free cellphone will be shipped to the address you provided.
As of 2019, New Mexico had a poverty rate of over 18%. It means there are many still in need of government assistance in the state.