An estimated 1,600,000 North Carolinians live below the federal poverty guidelines. For this reason, they are heavily dependent on the government to provide them with assistance. Even in the area of telecommunication. With a free government cellphone, low-income earners or those who are out of work will be able to communicate with members of their families, do some independent business, access medical and police emergency lines, as well as keep in touch with potential employers. If you are a resident of North Carolina and you fall within the class of people in need of a free government cellphone, then keep reading. In this article, we will be telling you all you need to know about free government cellphones in North Carolina.
Which Mobile Companies Offer Free Government Cellphones in North Carolina?
There aren’t many mobile phone companies in North Carolina that are part of the free government cellphone program. For now, there are just 4 of them. They are listed below.
These mobile companies offer different talk time options, data bundle packages, SMS, and discounts. You need to study each of their packages to be sure of exactly what they offer and if it is right for you. The mobile phone companies that are part of the free cellphone program in North Carolina may be few for now, but hopefully, the number will increase in the years to come.
What is the Eligibility Criteria for a Free Government Cellphone in North Carolina?
Two classes of North Carolina residents can be eligible for a free government cellphone. If you are a participant of one or more lifeline assistance programs in North Carolina, then you are eligible to apply. Secondly, you may be eligible if your annual household income is below the federal poverty guidelines in the state.
Eligibility Based on Lifeline Assistance Programs
Below is a list of lifeline assistance programs that can qualify you to apply for a free government cellphone in North Carolina.
- Food Stamps/ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Veterans Pension and Survivor’s Benefit
- Section 8/ Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance (BIA)
- Tribal Head Start
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR).
If you are a participant of one or more of these lifeline assistance programs, then you are eligible to apply for a free government cellphone in North Carolina. Membership cards are issued to all participants and this will be required when filling out your application form to get a free cellphone in the state.
Eligibility Based on Annual Household Income
You may get a free government cellphone in North Carolina if your annual household income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines in the state.
Number of Members of Household to Annual Household Income Ratio
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 person, add $6,048
How to Apply for a Free Government Cellphone in North Carolina
Going by the numbers provided above and the lifeline assistance programs earlier mentioned, you can determine if you are eligible for a free government cellphone or not. If you are, then you can begin your application process today. Below are the steps you need to take to apply for a free government cellphone in North Carolina.
1. Research and Choose a Cellphone Company
Before you request an application form, you should first be sure of the cellphone company you wish to get your free phone from. Out of the cellphone companies that offer free cellphones in the state, you can only pick one. Go through their websites to be updated on the packages they offer in terms of SMS, data bundles, voice calls, and discounts. They all offer similar packages, but if you look close enough, you may find some slight differences.
2. Request an Application Form
After you’ve taken your pick, what you would need to do next is to request an application form. One will be handed to you immediately. You can get the form from a lifeline assistance center near you, or you can download it from their website and print it.
3. Fill the Form
All relevant information must be provided as you fill the form. The information you provide also has to be accurate. Be warned, providing false information may get you disqualified. Be sure to go through the form after you have filled it to make sure there were no mistakes. You will need to include your full names, date of birth, residential address, employment status, lifeline membership status, annual household income, and several members in your household. Among others.
4. Attach Proof of Eligibility
Your application will not be complete if you do not attach proof of eligibility. This is an important part of the whole process. If you are applying based on annual household income, you will need to provide bank statements for the past year as proof of your monthly/annual income. You can request your statements from any of your bank’s branches. You can also have it mailed to you. If you are eligible due to your participation in a lifeline assistance program, then you will need to attach your membership ID as you submit. Keep in mind that only original copies are accepted. Your eligibility status will also be reviewed every year to determine if you are still qualified for a free government cellphone. Attaching recent utility receipts will also stand as proof of your residential address.
5. Submit Form
The last step in the process is to submit the form and wait for approval or rejection. Hopefully, the information you provide as well as proof of eligibility will be satisfactory and you will get your free government cellphone in North Carolina.
Having over 1,600,000 North Carolinians living below the poverty lines shows that there are a lot of people in need of free government cellphones in the state. Use the information provided in this article to begin your application process today.