On average, a household in Missouri earns an annual income of $54,478. Some feel this is a comfortable income for a household to earn but how about those who earn a meager amount? The poverty rate recorded in the state in 2018 was at a staggering figure of 13.2%. While there was a decrease from 14% which was recorded in 2016, it means that a good percentage of people are unable to fend for themselves. Today, the population of the state is recorded to be over 6.1 million. Here, you’ll find some notable enterprises such as Enterprise Holdings, Ascension Health, Emerson Electric Co., and O’Reilly Automotive. Despite all these big names, less than 65,000 residents are employed to work. The money is just not circulating to enough people. If we take a closer look at the statistics, it’s clear that about 805,000 people live in poverty. This is a big problem considering the number of lives affected. Any program designed to make living easier for these people is a welcome idea. The Lifeline program is designed to give free government cellphones to whoever is eligible for it.
Lifeline Free Government Cell Phone Program in Missouri
Have you heard of the Lifeline Federal Program?
The Lifeline Federal Program is used to give poor households free government cell phones. The household may choose to apply for a cell phone or landline. People who qualify as a household are those who stay under the same roof and share living costs between breadwinners. You must know that not everyone is eligible for this program. Some may wonder what the importance of giving out free cell phones is. It’s because poor people who are striving to earn a living for themselves rarely have access to communication. This program will make it possible for these low-income earners to enjoy the service of telephone carriers. The Lifeline Federal Program will provide households living in poverty with about 250 minutes of free calls. Telephone carriers in Missouri which are part of this program include:
- Access Wireless
- Assurance Wireless
- Reachout Wireless
- Safelink Wireless
- Life Wireless
- Q Link Wireless
- StandUp Wireless
- Tag Mobile
- Your tel Wireless
People who are unable to get a free government cell phone from these telephone carriers can still enjoy a discount from the Missouri Public Service Commission. The eligibility criteria for this is similar to that of the Lifeline Program. The Missouri Public Service Commission is open for those who are covered by any of these public programs:
- Veteran Administration of Disability Benefits
- State Blind Pension
- State Aid to Blind Persons
- State Supplemental Disability Assistance Payments Administered by the Family Support Division
- Social Security Disability
Eligibility Criteria for Free Government Cell Phone in Missouri
Certain Missouri residents are eligible for a free government cell phone. However, such residents have to fall under any of these government-paid programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Veterans or Survivors Pension
- Family Independence Program
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
- National School Lunch Program’s free lunch program
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Tribally Administered Temporary Assistance to Needy Families
- Head Start
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
Qualification Based on the Household Income Rule
Residents of Missouri can also be considered based on the Household Income Rule. The Household Income Rule states that any household earning lesser or at the same level (135%) as stipulated by Federal Poverty Guidelines in Missouri may be qualified for a free government cell phone. Take a look at this table to further explain the rule:
|Persons in Household||Annual Household Income|
|For each additional person,||$6,048|
Steps to Getting Free Government Cell Phones
Do you want a free government cell phone? Then, you would need to confirm your eligibility. Take note that, Missouri residents will only be eligible if they:
- Have an annual household income that falls within eligibility limits.
- Belong to a government-paid program.
If you are eligible, you can go ahead to apply for a free government cell phone. To apply, you would need to go through this process:
Select a Telephone Company that suits you
Any Missouri resident interested in the Lifeline program would have to apply through a telephone company. In the earlier parts of this article, we listed the telephone carriers in Missouri that are a part of this program. You’ll get similar deals from any of these carriers. All you have to do is pick one that suits you.
Any household is entitled to one free cell phone and one telephone company. Residents are also free to choose their preferred carrier and choose either a landline or cell phone.
Complete an Application Form
You’ve completed the first part of the process by choosing a telephone carrier. The next step of the process would be to complete an application form to formally request a free government cell phone. Forms are available at telephone carriers across the state. Applicants are to fill in their full names, date of birth, home address, and other relevant details that describe you and your household. Do not input wrong details into your application form or you may risk delaying the overall process. Make sure to attach a documented evidence stating your Lifeline Assistance Eligibility to the form you will submit. Residents who are eligible to be part of the program based on the Household Income Rule are required to provide their income statement. It’s also possible to tender a Federal Tax Return from the previous year. If you are eligible due to being a part of government-paid programs, you will need to provide proof of your membership to the carrier. Applicants are only allowed to present original copies of any attached documents. Annually, you will also be required to re-certify your eligibility by submitting evidence. In simple terms, you can be a part of the lifeline program when you:
- Confirm your eligibility to be part of the program
- Choose a suitable telephone company/carrier.
- Fill the application form and attach any relevant evidence
- Submit the form
- Wait to be contacted to receive the free government cell phone.
Missouri residents who are eligible to get a free government cell phone can start the application immediately.