At 10.2%, one would be right to say that the poverty level in Vermont is quite fair compared to other states in the U.S. Still, 10.2% is still a significant amount of people. These less privileged individuals are in need of several forms of government assistance, and the lifeline assistance programs are available to help. Thankfully, there are provisions for free government cellphones for individuals who cannot afford it. If you fall within this bracket, then keep reading. In this article, we will be discussing free government cellphones in Vermont and how you can be eligible for one. The application process will also be discussed.
Which Mobile Phone Companies are Part of the Free Government Cellphone Program in Vermont?
As of 2020, there is only one mobile phone company that offers free government cellphones in Vermont. This may be due to the fact the state only has 10.2% of its population living below poverty. Having one is better than having none. Hopefully, this will be enough to cater to those in need of a free government cellphone in the state. Q Link Wireless is the only cellphone company that offers free cellphones in Vermont.
Who is an Eligible Candidate for a Free Government Cellphone in Vermont?
To be an eligible candidate for a free cellphone in this state, you must fall within the annual income bracket or be eligible by program participation. If you do not meet up with any of these, then you cannot apply for a free cellphone in Vermont. Let’s look at each of the eligibility criteria one by one.
Eligibility Based on Program Participation
To be eligible via program participation, you must be a beneficiary of one or more of the programs listed below. If you are, then a membership card will be issued to you. This card will be used as proof of eligibility during your application process. The programs 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)
Eligibility Based on Annual Household Income
The second means by which you can be eligible for a free government cellphone in Vermont is by your annual household income. If it is leveled with or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines, then you are eligible to apply. The ratios below show the household size to eligible annual household income. Go through the figures to see if your annual earnings can qualify you.
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 Vermont ?
If you find that you are eligible for a free government cellphone in the state then you can start your application process immediately. All you will need to do is follow the simple steps we have prepared below.
1. Choose Your Preferred Mobile Phone Company
Before you request an application form, you will need to choose a mobile phone company that will give you your free phone. Coincidentally, Vermont has only one mobile phone company that is a part of the free government cellphone program. That’s Q Link Wireless. All the same, they offer various packages so you would still need to go through them to see which is best for you. These packages range from talk hours, to SMS, data bundles, and other discounts.
2. Request an Application Form
The next step to take will be requesting the application form from the cellphone company. The lifeline support center in Vermont will also hand you a form in your request. If you don’t want to make the trip to their office, you can visit their website and print out the form. The form is 100% free of charge so you won’t be spending any money during this phase.
3. Fill the Form
It is very important that you provide 100% correct information as you fill out the form. Wrong or deceitful information will put you at risk of being disqualified from getting a free cellphone. The details you will need to provide while filling out the form include your full name, date of birth, home address, employment status, annual household income, household size, and program participation details. Go through the form before you submit, just to make sure there are no errors. If you find any, make corrections before you submit.
4. Attach Proof of Eligibility
To prove you are truly eligible for a free government cellphone in Vermont, you will be required to attach the relevant documents. If you are applying based on annual income, then attaching your bank statements or tax receipts will be sufficient proof. You can get your statement of account from your bank. Visit any of its branches or ask them to email it to you.
If you are applying based on program participation, then you can attach your membership card to the form and submit. An original copy of your card is what is required. Your eligibility status will have to be re-confirmed each year. This is because no financial situation is deemed to be permanent, and it can change at any time. If it so happens that you begin earning more than 135% of the federal poverty guidelines, it means you will no longer be eligible for a free government cellphone. If you also stop participating in the lifeline assistance programs mentioned above, your eligibility based on programs will be lost.
5. Submit the Form and Wait
After the form has been filled and proof of eligibility has been attached, mail the form to the mobile phone company or the lifeline support center in Vermont. If your application is good, then your phone will be sent to your residential address.
Vermont is not the poorest state in America, yet there are those still in need of assistance from the government. If you are eligible, you can start your application process immediately.