A quick look at the U.S. Census Bureau will tell you that the national poverty rate is at 15.4 percent, and Maine’s is below that at 13.6 percent. Even though Maine’s poverty rate is 1.8 percent below the national average, residents’ quality of life is still suffering and is at one of its lowest points.
Tens of thousands of people and families living in Maine cannot afford to have a cell phone. As a result, many simply go without having a cell phone just to save some money. This means that thousands of Mainers are not connected to family, friends, work, job opportunities, doctors appointments, and 911 emergency services.
If you’re one of those people living in Maine without a cell phone, know that there is help out there. A free government benefit program called Lifeline will assist you with getting a free cell phone with up to 250 free minutes a month! Yes, free government cell phones in Maine are now available.
What Exactly Is Lifeline Service?
You may have heard of the “free government cell phone program” before. What you may not have known, is that this program is actually called the Federal Lifeline Assistance program, or Lifeline for short. This program was established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the 1980s, and originally only gave discounts to landline phone services.
In the 2000s, Lifeline was updated to include cell phone services, and the FCC also started to allow some private phone companies the ability to provide the free services. These private companies are the ones that provide the free cell phones to use with the free services. The government and the FCC has no part in paying for the free cell phones; the private phone companies actually pay for the cost of the cell phones as a way to help out eligible low-income people living in Maine and the United States.
Who Is Eligible for Free Government Cell Phones in Maine?
Low-income people living in Maine who meets one of the two main eligibility criteria may qualify for free government cell phones in Maine. If you have a total household income that is at or below the Federal Poverty Guidelines for Maine, then you may qualify.
You may also qualify for free government cell phones in Maine if you currently participate in any of the following government assistance programs:
- Food Stamps, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Medicaid (including expanded Maine Medicaid)
- National School Lunch Program (Free Lunch Program Only)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance or Section 8
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF)
- Head Start (Tribal Program for those meeting income qualifying standard)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Emergency Assistance Program
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Most Other Government Assistance Programs in Maine
How Do You Apply for Free Government Cell Phones in Maine?
Applying for free government cell phones in Maine is easy. Although there is a strict limit of one phone per household, you can usually apply in minutes online. First you must choose a reputable Lifeline service provider. Next, visit their website and apply online, over the phone, or by mailing in an application.
Don’t go without a cell phone any longer! With Lifeline, you can stay connected to friends, family, and co-workers. You can stay connected to your employer or 911 emergency services. Stay connected today; check your eligibility or sign up by entering in your information in the blue box above and clicking on the orange button right now.