Recently, TracFone Wireless, the largest pre-paid cellular service provider in the country, unveiled its Safelink Lifeline service in New York. The SafeLink service provides a 68 minute calling plan on a monthly basis at no cost to qualifying customers as well as a free SafeLink Wireless phone.
Additional minutes beyond the first 68 “free” minutes can be purchased directly from TracFone in various plans, which cost in the neighborhood of 20 cents/minute. Plans of other wireless providers may have significantly less cost per minute, so users will still need to shop if they anticipate using significantly more than 68 minutes.
Customers are eligible to receive Lifeline assistance if they receive benefits from one of the following programs: Family Assistance, Food Stamps, Home Energy Assistance Program (“HEAP”), Medicaid, Safety Net Assistance, Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”), Veteran’s Disability Pension, and Veteran’s Surviving Spouse Pension. Applicants must complete a form to indicate that they participate in one of these programs. (For Lifeline service through one of the landline providers, such as Verizon, eligibility for one of these programs — even if the applicant does not participate — is sufficient to qualify for Lifeline.) Also, as with other Lifeline providers, applicants may be eligible if their total household income is at or under 135 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Lifeline customers can only receive Lifeline discount telephone service from one company at a time. See PULP’s webpage on Lifeline service.
SafeLink joins Sprint/Nextel as the only authorized wireless Lifeline providers in New York. See Reduced Rate Wireless Lifeline Service Now Available in New York.
The application to apply for SafeLink’s Lifeline service in New York is available here: