The Lifeline Assistance program, which was created in the 1980’s by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under Reagan administration has been helping individuals and families who cannot afford phone services. Originally, the program provided landline phone services for low income homes. With the creation and growing popularity of cell phones, the program now provides free and discounted cell phone service to those who qualify.
The Lifeline program provides cell phone service with many of the same features as traditional cell phone service. You can typically send text messages, receive voicemails, use caller ID and make local, long distance and international phone calls. Plus, certain providers of the program take it upon themselves to subsidize the cost of a free phone to help consumers in need.
Applicants must apply to the program and prove their eligibility. The eligibility requirements include participating in a government assistance program or meeting low income requirements as per their state.