Rhode Island isn’t the poorest state in America, yet it has over 140,000 of its citizens living below the poverty lines. Based on these figures, low-income earners or unemployed individuals are eligible to apply for a free cellphone in Rhode Island. This would come as a relief to those who need help, being that they can save some money on cellphone charges. If you’re a Rhode Island resident and you fall within this class of people, keep reading. In this article, we’ll be discussing all you need to know about getting a free cellphone in Rhode Island.
Which Mobile Phone Companies Give Free Cellphones in Rhode Island?
You’d be glad to hear that there is a decent amount of mobile phone companies who are part of the free government cellphone program in Rhode Island. Although their packages are similar, there is a little bit of uniqueness in their offers. For this reason, you should carefully browse through all they have to offer before you apply to one. Below is a list of the mobile phone companies that are part of the free government cellphone program in the state.
- Access Wireless
- American Assistance
- Assurance Wireless
- EnTouch Wireless
- Life Wireless
- Q Link Wireless
- Safelink Wireless
- Tempo Communications
- Terracom Wireless
- True Wireless
What is the Eligibility Criteria for a Free Government Cellphone in Rhode Island?
The criteria for a free government cellphone in Rhode Island is quite straightforward. You can be eligible via two means.
- Eligibility based on participation in a lifeline assistance program
- Eligibility based on annual household income
Eligibility based on Participation in a Lifeline Assistance Program
Being a beneficiary of a lifeline assistance program in Rhode Island qualifies you to apply for a free government cellphone. The lifeline assistance programs that grant you eligibility are listed below.
- 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)
A beneficiary of any of these programs will be issued a membership ID card. This card is very important because you will need it as proof of eligibility when you apply for your free cellphone.
Eligibility Based on Income
Your annual household income is another criterion that can qualify you to apply for a free government cellphone in Rhode Island. You are eligible if your annual household income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines in the state. Below, we have listed a ratio of household size to eligible annual household income. Go through these numbers. If the number of members of your household and your annual household income falls within this list, then you are eligible.
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 Rhode Island
Going by all the eligibility criteria listed so far, you can apply for your free cellphone in Rhode Island. In case you don’t know how to go about it, we will give you some useful tips.
1. Select the Best Mobile Phone Company for You
Keep in mind you can only get a free government cellphone from one mobile phone company. This means you have to choose one that best suits your unique situation. To do this, go through the mobile phone operator’s website one by one and get acquainted with the packages they offer. You can also send them an e-mail or call if you have further questions. This will help you make the best choice.
2. Request an Application Form
To apply, you will need to have an application form in hand. You can visit the lifeline assistance center in your state to get a form. You will be handed one on request. If the trip is too far for you to make, you can get an application form from their website. Simply download and print it out.
3. Fill the Form Correctly
There are some vital pieces of information that you will need to provide in the application form. Be warned though, do not provide wrong information in the form. If you do, your application process will be slower than you would like and may even end up being rejected. The most basic information you will need to provide includes your full names, your date of birth, residential address, employment status, number of members in your household, annual household income, and your participation in a lifeline assistance program. Be advised to go through the form again after you have filled it out to cross-check for errors. Make the necessary corrections as required.
4. Attach Proof of Eligibility and Submit Form
Without proof of eligibility, your application process will not be complete. To prove your eligibility, certain documents may be used. If you are applying based on your participation in a lifeline assistance program, then you will need to provide your membership card as proof. Only original copies are allowed so do not submit photocopies. In a case you are applying based on annual household income, you should provide bank statements that show an inflow of your salary for the past year. Your bank can provide you with your statement on request. You can also have your statement mailed to you. On an annual basis, your eligibility will be reviewed. This is because your financial situation can change at any time. You may get a higher paying job that will take you above the federal poverty lines. This means you will no longer be eligible for a free cellphone in Rhode Island. The last step would be to mail the form to the lifeline assistance center in your state then wait for the approval.
140,000 people is a lot to live below federal poverty lines. Unfortunately, that’s the state of Rhode Island.