Oregon can be ranked as one of the poorest states in America. More than 600,000 of its residents have an annual household income that is lower than the federal poverty guidelines. This is about a 15.4% poverty rate in the state. The rural areas are far worse, and you can physically see with your own eyes how terrible life can be for the low-income earners and the unemployed in the state. That being said, it does not come as a surprise to hear that the poor people of Oregon need government assistance in different aspects of their lives. They need support in areas like healthcare, feeding, education, housing, and of course telecoms. If you are a resident of Oregon and you feel you are eligible for a free government cellphone, then keep reading. In this article, we’ll be telling you all you need to know about getting a free government cellphone in Oregon.
Which Mobile Phone Companies Provide Free Government Cellphones in Oregon?
It comes as a huge surprise that as poor as Oregon is, there are only 3 mobile phone companies who are part of the government-assisted free cellphone program in the state. This is quite disappointing, nonetheless, it is better than not having at all. Below is a list of the mobile phone companies that are part of the free cellphone program in Oregon.
The options may not be many, but you still have to check out the packages each of them offer. You shouldn’t expect a big difference in their offers though, but a slight difference in talk time, SMS, data plans, or discounts could mean the world to you.
Who Can be Eligible for a Free Government Cellphone in Oregon?
The free government cellphone program is not for everyone. High-income earners do not require such assistance. It is meant for those who are earning an annual household income that is less than the federal poverty guidelines. Here are two ways you can be eligible for a free government cellphone in Oregon.
Eligibility based on Lifeline program participation
If you are a beneficiary of any one of the lifeline assistance programs listed below, then you are eligible to apply for a free government cellphone in Oregon.
- 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 (only those households meeting its income qualifying standard)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR).
Eligibility based on annual household income
This is another means by which you can be eligible for a free government cellphone in Oregon. The household income rule states that your household income has to be at or below 135% of Oregon’s federal poverty guidelines to be eligible for a free cellphone. Using the number of household members to annual income ratio listed below, you would know if you are eligible or not.
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 Oregon
If you are a member of any of the lifeline assistance programs listed earlier, or your annual household income falls within the eligibility bracket, then you can begin your application process today. We will be listing out the steps you need to take to apply for a free government cellphone in Oregon.
1. Select a Cellphone Company
This is the easiest part of the application process. All you have to do is go through all the mobile phone companies that are part of the free government cellphone program and see the type of packages they offer. In Oregon, there are only three mobile phone companies that are part of this program so you shouldn’t have a hard time going through their offers one by one.
2. Request an Application Form
After you’ve made your choice, you can proceed to ask for an application form from the lifeline assistance support center in Oregon. One will be handed to you immediately. You can either physically visit the center to get the form or download the form from their website.
3. Fill the Application Form
This is where all the serious business begins. Make sure you fill in only truthful information on the form. Many candidates have been disqualified for providing false information. On the form, you would be expected to provide your names, date of birth, residential address, number of members in your household, employment status, annual household income, and information regarding any lifeline assistance programs you are a part of. Go through the form after you have finished filling it to make sure all the information you provided is accurate.
4. Attach Proof of Eligibility
Sadly, many ineligible individuals have wrongfully tried to take advantage of the free government cellphone program in the past. This has prompted authorities to request proof of eligibility during application. This will require you to provide some valid documents to back up your claims. For instance, you may need to attach recent copies of your utility bills as proof of your residence. If you’re applying based on your participation in any of the lifeline assistance programs, you will need to attach your membership card to your application as you submit. Application-based on annual household income would require bank statements to serve as proof. You can request this from your bank and they will provide it immediately. Keep in mind that your eligibility will have to be reviewed every year, as your financial status may change at any time.
With a poverty rate of over 15%, it is shocking that Oregon has only 3 cellphone companies that are part of the lifeline free government cellphone program. Hopefully, the number of participating cellphone companies will increase.