Many may not know this, but Puerto Rico has been an American Territory since 1917. It used to be a lowly populated region but has grown to a citizenry of over 3 million people. As of today, the region is facing a recession and an astonishing 45% of Puerto Rico residents live in poverty. If you thought the poverty level in Mississippi was high, think again. It’s not all bad news though. The poor citizens of this region are entitled to the same welfare benefits other states in America enjoy. This includes a free government cellphone. If you live in Puerto Rico and you need a free government cellphone, then stay with us, as we will be providing all the information you need to know your eligibility and application process.
Which Mobile Companies Offer Free Cellphones in Puerto Rico?
You’d be glad to hear that there are enough mobile phone companies in this region that offer free cellphones to eligible candidates. They offer almost the same packages, but you should still investigate them one by one to find the offer that’s best for you. They are listed out below.
- American Assistance
- EnTouch Wireless
- Life Wireless
- Q Link Wireless
- Safelink Wireless
- StandUP Wireless
- Open Mobile
- AT&T Mobility
Who Can be Eligible for a Free Government Cellphone in Puerto Rico?
Eligibility for a free government cellphone in Puerto Rico is determined by two means.
- Program based eligibility
- Income-based eligibility
If you happen to be a beneficiary of one or more lifeline assistance programs in Puerto Rico, then you are eligible to apply for a free government cellphone. Below is a list of programs that can grant you eligibility.
- Health Insurance
- Food Stamps/ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Veterans Pension and Survivor’s Benefit
- Section 8/ Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
If you’re a beneficiary of any of these programs, you would be issued a membership card. You should keep this card secure because it is a credential of high importance during your free cellphone application process.
Based on your annual household income, you could also be eligible for a free government cellphone in Puerto Rico. According to the household income rule, your total household income must not be above 135% of the federal poverty guidelines. Below is a ratio of household size to eligible annual household income. Go through these figures to see if and where you fit in.
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 Puerto Rico
All relevant things being considered, you can now determine if you are eligible for a free government cellphone in Puerto Rico or not. If you are, then good for you. The steps below will guide you along the application process.
1. Choose Your Preferred Mobile Phone Company
Don’t be in a hurry to fill out the application form if you are not yet sure of the mobile phone company you want to get your free phone from. The first thing you need to do is investigate each of the mobile phone operators that offer free government cellphones and see the packages they have to offer. Check out their voice call plans, the number of SMS offers, data bundles, and other discounts they offer. You can get all the information you need from their website. If you need extra information, you can send them an email or call and have all your questions answered. Knowing what plans each of them offer will help you chose the best mobile phone company for you.
2. Get the Application Form
The next step to getting your free cellphone in Puerto Rico is to request an application form. You can visit the lifeline assistance center in the region to obtain the form. They will hand it to you on request. If you wish, you can also visit their website and get the form online.
3. Fill the Form Accurately
The application form has to be filled out as accurately as possible. You will be at risk of being disqualified if you provide wrong information. Therefore, after you fill out the form, make sure you go through it once more before you submit. Just to be sure there are no mistakes. Among the information, you need to provide include your full names, your date of birth, residential address, size of household, employment status, annual household salary, and your participation in any of the lifeline assistance programs available in the region.
4. Attach Relevant Documents as Proof of Eligibility
It is one thing to claim eligibility, it is another to prove it. This is why you are required to provide all relevant proof of your eligibility status. If you are applying based on your participation in any one of the lifeline programs listed in this article, then you will be required to attach your membership card to your application as you submit. Please note, only original copies are accepted. You cannot use a photocopy. If you are applying based on your annual household income, then you can prove your eligibility using your bank statements for the past year. The statement will reflect the inflow of your salary and that will suffice. You can get your statement by visiting any one of your bank’s branches. Simply request for it. You can also have it mailed to you.
5. Submit and Wait for Approval
This is the final step to getting your free government cellphone in Puerto Rico. You can mail the application along with the relevant proof of eligibility to the lifeline assistance support center near you. If your application is legitimate, then you will be approved and have your new cellphone shipped to you.
Puerto Rico’s 45% poverty rate is nothing short of terrible. Thankfully, there are government programs in place to help less privileged residents get free phones.