West Virginia has a poverty level of 17.9%. This is quite high when compared to other states. This means there are more than enough people who could use some government help in different aspects of their lives. Mobile phone communication is one of the areas where the less privileged in West Virginia could use some help. Communication is a vital part of life, as it can help one keep in contact with family, work, and emergency services. Sadly, not everyone in West Virginia can afford this. Luckily, there are lifeline assistance programs that can offer eligible candidates free cellphones in the state. In this article, we will be discussing how you can get a free government cellphone in West Virginia.
Cellphone Companies that Offer Free Phones in West Virginia
There are many cellphone companies in West Virginia that are part of the free cellphone program. They are listed out below.
- Access Wireless
- American Assistance
- Assurance Wireless
- EnTouch Wireless
- Life Wireless
- Q Link Wireless
- Safelink Wireless
- StandUp Wireless
- Tag Mobile
- Tempo Communications
- Terracom Wireless
These companies offer pretty much the same package, but you can still spot minor differences in their offers if you look close enough. You can check out their websites for more information.
How Could You be Eligible for a Free Government Cellphone in West Virginia
To be eligible for a free government cellphone in West Virginia, you need to either be a beneficiary of a lifeline assistance program in the state or be income eligible. If you are not, then it would be a waste of time applying. Let’s look at the eligibility criteria one by one.
Eligibility Based on Program Participation
If you belong to any of the lifeline assistance programs listed below, then you can apply for a free cellphone. As a beneficiary, you will be given a membership card which grants you access to all the privileges that come with membership. 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
Another way you can be eligible for a free phone in this state is by your annual household income. According to the federal household income laws, you will be eligible to apply if your annual household income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines. We have listed out the ratios below. Take a look at them and see if you are qualified.
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 West Virginia
If you are sure you meet all the eligibility criteria, then you can start your application process. Don’t worry if you don’t know the steps to take. We will guide you along the way. Follow the steps below to start your application.
1. Choose a Mobile Phone Company
The very first thing you need to do is to choose a cellphone company. To do this, you will need to go through each of the packages they offer and see which of them is the most favorable. Go through their individual websites to see all their offers regarding talk time, data plans, SMS, and other possible discounts. After you have done a thorough investigation, you will be able to choose the right mobile phone company to get your phone from
2. Get an Application Form
The second step to take is to request an application form. You can get one from the lifeline assistance support center in West Virginia. You can also get the form from the website of the mobile phone company you have chosen. All you have to do is download the form and print it out. If you wish, you can have them mail the form to you or send via fax.
3. Fill the Application Form
Filling the application form is a very vital part of the whole process. If there are errors in your application, you may be disqualified from getting a free government cellphone. You need to be sure that all the information you are providing is accurate. Check the form after you are done filling to see if there are any errors. Make corrections where necessary. On the form, you will be asked to provide your full names, date of birth, residential address, work status, household size, annual household income, and your participation in any of the lifeline assistance programs listed above.
4. Provide Proof of Eligibility and Submit
Another important part of the whole application process is providing proof that you are indeed eligible for a free government cellphone. Proof of your eligibility will be in the form of documents that support your claim. If you are applying based on your annual household income, then attaching your bank statements from the previous year or your tax receipts will serve as enough evidence. Your bank can issue you a statement upon your request. You can visit any of their branches to get the statement. You can also have them send it to your email and you print it out. If you’re applying based on program participation, then providing your membership card would be enough evidence. The card would already be in your possession if you are already a beneficiary. Keep in mind that your eligibility will be reviewed each year to determine if you are still qualified. This is because your status can change and you may begin earning above the stipulated 135% of the federal poverty guidelines. After attaching relevant proof, you can submit the form and wait for a decision.
If you are eligible for a free government cellphone in West Virginia, then use the information provided here to start your application process.