Wireless Lifeline Plans Bring Vital Communication Services To Low Income Families

by erin on July 26, 2011

During the past two decades, wireless communications evolved into an incredibly vibrant and ever-present form of communication. In addition to providing normal voice calls, these services allow us to keep in touch via social networks, download music and video and access any web location worldwide. A small but important niche in this vast market includes wireless lifeline plans, designed to provide basic voice and text service for those unable to afford it.

Economic Realities

Unpleasant economic realities place many people in that category. Often they are elderly, disabled or otherwise unable to work. They frequently are forced to rely on governmental safety nets for such basics as housing and food. Under those circumstances, signing a cell phone contract is virtually impossible. A basic, affordable service for people with limited means not only allows necessary communications but also brings a welcome sense of security.

Call Service

Prior to the advent of cell service, similar mandated programs existed for years. The cost was covered by minimal charges to all customers and transferring the same principles to mobile service makes good sense. Emergencies or accidents often occur away from home or at night, far from access to a landline. And, in most locations today, finding a pay phone is impossible.

Government Agency

Recognizing this need, governmental agencies have helped construct a mobile communications safety net. The calling plans offered are the opposite of extravagant and usually provide only a minimal number of minutes each month. Users can usually opt for more minutes if they have extra money and some companies allow the minutes to accumulate or roll over.

Qualified User

Qualified users are allowed free access not only to 911 and information numbers but also calling features such as voice mail, caller ID and call waiting. These features allow incoming callers to leave messages, vital in an emergency situation. Having this kind of service has actually prevented people from perishing due to accidents or sudden illness, simply because they were able to immediately call for help.

Voice Calls

These services also allow users to send text messages in addition to voice calls. The handset provided is usually a basic, no-frills model that would not qualify as a smart phone. Individual calling plans provide enough minutes to take care of normal business but not to download data. They are designed to make reliable basic calls to family members or emergency services. Most billing is also wireless, which also cuts expenses.

Assistance Qualification

To qualify for this assistance, potential users must demonstrate that their income meets governmental limitations. People participating in Medicaid or those who live in subsidized housing and have a very minimal income may qualify but individual programs and their requirements vary from state to state. Not all regional companies offer the same plans. To bridge the gap, some mobile providers have created their own plans.

Wireless Lifeline

The people who may be qualified for these VoIP billing programs are often not aware that they exist. There has been a relatively small amount of advertisement and knowledge of these plans is not widespread. The reality is that no one, regardless of income, has to live in fear that they will not be able to communicate in times of trouble. Wireless lifeline services provide a humane and cost-effective way to give low-income individuals access to modern digital communications.

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