Free phones for veterans? Not quite.

You walk out of a VA facility, and see a booth with people offering free phones and cell service for veterans, all thanks to a government program. It sounds compelling, right?

“Free” might end up costing you a lot of money. The FTC has heard about booths like these — and what happens next. Months later, veterans who signed up for the program get notices saying they need to provide personal information and documents to prove they meet the income requirements — something the people pitching the program never mentioned. Many veterans find that their incomes are too high to qualify for the program, and face losing service or paying for something they thought would be free.

Here are the facts: there is a government program — called Lifeline — that offers free or discounted phone service. It’s supported by the Universal Service Fund — a fund all telephone companies and other telecommunications providers pay into (a cost you might see passed on to you in the form of a “Universal Service” line charge on your phone bill). But the program is based on income, not whether you’re a veteran. If you don’t meet the income requirements, you don’t qualify.

To learn more about the Lifeline program, check out the FCC’s  Lifeline: Affordable Telephone Service for Income-Eligible Subscribers.

Think you might be eligible for the program? Go to lifelinesupport.org and use the pre-screening tool from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to see if you might qualify for a free phone. The site also lets you search for Lifeline providers in your state.

Even if you don’t qualify, try checking with your phone service provider to see if they offer any discounts for veterans.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

I maybe a victim of this scheme

Another scheme from the scum of the earth.

This has hit here in upstate NY too, specifically in the Watertown and probably other areas. Everyone's blaming Obama but I stayed clear of it for general primcipels; you cannot get anything that is truly free. I expected it to be ID theft but this is worse.

I would like a phone.

Thank you for this and other notices to protect us.

We make call not answer.they say voice record they say.

Yes this should happen why not they helped us served for us why not respect them and show them respect for what they did to us

this is very usful info thankyou ftc

Ditto - and it never ends? Sigh!

please tell us what to do with these phones. A family member came home with one from the VA at the Villages, FL. Don't let scammers park there!

You can look at the contract for phone service to see if you agree with the terms and costs. If you think a business didn't give you what was promised, you can report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint and to your state Attorney General’s office.

December 16th 2015 How soon are veteran available for free phone what's the waiting process

This blog is about a scam. Some people tell veterans they can get a phone for free, but the scammers don't tell about the fine print. Some veterans think phone will be free, but it really isn't.

Some people who have lower incomes can use a government program called Lifeline. People who use LIfeline get phone service for free or for a lower cost. Lifeline is for people with a lower income. It's not connected to being a veteran.

Go to this FCC page to learn about Lifeline program: Lifeline: Affordable Telephone Service for Income-Eligible Subscribers.

Or, go to lifelinesupport.org. There are questions there that help you find out if you're eligible for a Lifeline program. That site also lets you find companies near you that offer Lifeline.

Or, you can ask your phone company if it gives discounts to veterans.

like this

Will i be able to get a new phone.

Go to lifelinesupport.org and use the pre-screening tool from the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) to see if you might qualify for a free phone. The site also lets you search for Lifeline providers in your state.

Even if you don’t qualify, try checking with your phone service provider to see if they offer any discounts for veterans.

One thing about the free junk: Make sure U read the privacy and terms before you even ask for a phone. So that would tell all that asked for a free phone--No U can Not have one unless you are stupid and sign here.

I work for a state agency in Oklahoma and assist discharged inmates in connecting with community resources. My question pertains to the recent practice of Assist Wireless charging a $25 "service charge" to my clients in order for them to sign up for the Lifeline Program. This is in addition to the monthly charge for phone services. Is this consistent with the Lifeline Program requirements? If not, is there any policy I could use to challenge this practice? Thank you.

To learn about Lifeline, please go to the FCC at Lifeline: Affordable Telephone Service for Income-Eligible Subscribers. You'll find program rules, eligibility rules and more. You can also report possible fraud in the Lifeline program to the FCC.

 

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