What is an Obama Phone
“Obama Phone” is a colloquial term that refers to the Lifeline Assistance Program, a federal program established in 1985 that provides subsidized phone services to low-income households in the United States. The program was expanded during President Barack Obama’s administration to include cell phone services, leading to the nickname “Obama Phone.”
The program is designed to help low-income households access telecommunications services, which can be essential for job searches, healthcare, and other important needs. The program is funded by the government and administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). It offers discounts on monthly phone or wireless services, as well as free or discounted mobile devices.
While the term “Obama Phone” has been used as a political talking point in some circles, it is important to note that the program was established long before Obama became president and is not a form of welfare or a government handout. Rather, it is a federally funded program aimed at helping low-income Americans stay connected in an increasingly digital world.
Can I Find an Obama Phone Near Me
If you are a U.S. citizen, you surely can! The Lifeline program is available in all U.S. states, territories, commonwealth, and on Tribal lands. Discounts on monthly services and devices are funded by the government and provided by Lifeline-participating telecommunications companies, which are available in all parts of the country. Each provider tends to operate in several states but mostly not in all of them. Moreover, each provider offers different benefits, as such, it’s best to find an Obama phone provider near you that offers the benefits that most fit your needs.
How to Find an Obama Phone Near Me
Option A – Lifeline Search Tool
One option, and probably the best option, to find an Obama phone near you is to use the online Lifeline search tool. This search tool is provided by the USAC, as such, the provided information is surely correct and up to date.
To use this tool, visit cnm.universalservice.org, enter your ZIP code or city and state, select the Lifeline program, and press Search. The program will generate a list of all the telecommunications companies that offer Obama phones and other Lifeline benefits in your area.
In case you are wondering about the other program that you can select in this tool (ACP), let’s just say that ACP (Affordable Connectivity Program) is a similar assistance program that offers discounts on internet services and internet-connected devices. However, many Lifeline providers also offer ACP discounts, and customers who qualify for both assistance programs can apply for the plan with the most benefits and the best phone model. Luckily, Lifeline subscribers don’t have to worry about qualifying for ACP, as Lifeline participation automatically makes you ACP-eligible.
Option B – Online Search and Social Media
Alternatively, you can search for Obama phone providers near you online or via social media. Simply use one of your favorite search platforms and search for ‘Obama phone near me’ or better ‘Lifeline companies near me’/’Lifeline companies (your state)’. The platform will provide you with a list of companies. Then, you can visit each company’s website to compare their offers.
How to Get an Obama Phone Near Me
To receive a Lifeline government free phone, commonly referred to as the “Obama Phone,” you will need to follow these steps:
- Determine if you are eligible for Lifeline. You can either qualify based on your income or based on your participation in another qualifying government assistance program. See the eligibility criteria below.
- Make sure that you can prove your eligibility by providing copies of acceptable proof documentation. You will need to provide proof of eligibility such as a tax return or proof of participation in a qualifying assistance program. See which documents you can provide below.
- Choose a phone company that offers Obama phones near you. You can do so by following the instructions in the previous section.
- Apply for the program. You can apply for the program directly through the phone company you choose or through the National Verifier first.
- Wait for approval. Once you have submitted your application, you will need to wait for the approval. The process can take a few days to a few weeks depending on the phone company and the state you live in.
- Receive your phone. If your application is approved, the phone company will provide you with a free phone and a certain number of minutes, texts, and data per month. You may also have the option to purchase additional minutes or data if needed.
It’s important to note that the Lifeline program is only available to one household per address and that you must recertify your eligibility annually to continue receiving benefits.
How to Qualify for an Obama Phone Near Me
To qualify for the Lifeline program, you must either have a low income or participate in a qualifying government assistance program.
To qualify based on income, you must have an annual household income that is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines. The guidelines depend on your household size and state.
Program Participation-based Eligibility
To qualify based on your participation in another program, you must participate in a qualifying federal assistance program, such as:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
- Tribal-specific programs
Moreover, you must be at least 18 years old or an emancipated minor and a resident of one of the states where your selected provider operates.
How to Prove My Obama Phone Eligibility
If the USAC can’t confirm your Lifeline eligibility or some other personal information, you may be asked to provide proof. You may be asked to show proof of:
- Household income (if you qualify based on your income). Acceptable documents include:
- A copy of your most recent federal tax return
- Three consecutive months of pay stubs or bank statements
- Unemployment or Workers’ Compensation statement of benefits
- Proof of child support or alimony payments
- Program participation (if you qualify based on your participation in another government assistance program). Acceptable documents include:
- A statement of benefits from a qualifying assistance program
- A letter from a government agency that verifies your participation in a qualifying program
- Approval letter, statement of benefits, benefit award, or verification letter
- Identity or date of birth. Acceptable documents include:
- Government, military, state, or Tribal ID
- Birth Certificate
- Driver’s license
- Certificate of U.S. Citizenship or Naturalization
- Permanent Resident Card or Green Card
- Address. Acceptable documents include:
- Utility bill
- Mortgage or lease statement
- Most recent W-2 or tax return
- Driver’s license or other valid government, state, or Tribal ID
You may also be asked to provide your Social Security Number or Tribal ID number, proof of life, or proof of your emancipation status.
Depending on whether you choose to apply online or via mail, you will have to provide digital or physical copies of your documents. Make sure that the documents are official and valid and that the copies are clear. You can make copies using a copy machine, scanner, camera, or smartphone.
How to Apply for an Obama Phone Near Me
To apply for the Lifeline assistance and hopefully receive an Obama phone, you must follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Apply Through the National Verifier
You can apply for Lifeline through the National Verifier by completing an online application, by mailing a paper application to the National Lifeline Accountability Database (NLAD), or by working with a Lifeline enrollment partner who can help you submit your application.
To apply online, visit nv.fcc.gov/lifeline. Log in or create a new account. Complete the online application form by providing all the required information and copies of your proof documentation.
To apply via mail, you must print out a physical application form. You can find one in English at lifelinesupport.org/wp-content/uploads/documents/get-lifeline/LI_Application_NVstates.pdf. Fill out all the boxes and make sure not to make any mistakes. Then, provide clear physical copies of your valid proof documentation. Send all the papers to Lifeline Support Center, P.O. Box 7081, London, KY 40742.
In case you have a disability and need assistance with your Lifeline application, make sure to contact the Lifeline Support Center at (800) 234-9473.
If you also wish to apply for the ACP benefit (which all Lifeline subscribers automatically qualify for) and thus receive more benefits, you can do so online or via mail by following the instructions at affordableconnectivity.gov/how-to-apply.
Step 2: Apply Through the Provider
Certain Lifeline providers will require you to first apply through the National Verifier and then through them. However, others, enable you to apply directly through them, as their application form will automatically be sent to and verified by the National Verifier.
To apply through the provider (initially or as the second step after being approved by the National Verifier), you must find an Obama phone provider near you. Then, you must visit the provider’s official website, enter your ZIP code, review the company’s offer in your area, choose a fitting plan, proceed to the company’s online application form (some companies also offer physical forms), fill out the form by providing all the required information and documentation, and submit the application.
If your application gets approved, the company will contact you via email or another provided contact mean. You can then expect to receive your free Obama phone via mail or by visiting the company’s physical store or stand (if the company has such physical addresses). You will also probably receive a free SIM card and a discount on monthly phone or wireless services.
What Are the Best Obama Phone Providers Near Me
Some of the best Lifeline Obama phone providers in the country are listed below. Keep in mind that these companies operate in multiple states but none of them offers its free phones and monthly service plans in all areas. As such, it’s best to check whether or not any of these companies is available in your area at cnm.universalservice.org.
- Access Wireless (see the company’s offer and apply at accesswireless.com)
- AirTalk Wireless (see the company’s offer and apply at airtalkwireless.com)
- Assurance Wireless (see the company’s offer and apply at assurancewireless.com)
- Cintex Wireless (see the company’s offer and apply at cintexwireless.com)
- Easy Wireless (see the company’s offer and apply at myeasywireless.com)
- enTouch Wireless (see the company’s offer and apply at entouchwireless.com)
- NewPhone Wireless (see the company’s offer and apply at newphone.com)
- SafeLink Wireless (see the company’s offer and apply at safelinkwireless.com)
- StandUp Wireless (see the company’s offer and apply at standupwireless.com)
- TruConnect (see the company’s offer and apply at truconnect.com)
What Kind of Benefits Can I Expect to Receive
If you apply for Lifeline through your selected company and your application gets approved, you will likely receive the following benefits:
- An Obama phone (a free Lifeline phone). Most companies do not reveal the phone model in advance, however, you can expect to receive a mid-range Android smartphone with a touch screen. Certain Lifeline companies also offer basic flip phones and Apple’s iPhones. Some Lifeline companies offer the following free phone models to eligible customers:
- Alcatel Revvl 5G
- Apple iPhone SE
- Apple iPhone 7
- Apple iPhone 8
- Google Pixel 3 XL
- LG V20
- Motorola G Stylus 2020
- Motorola Moto Z4
- OnePlus 7T
- Unimax U693CL
- Samsung Galaxy S9
- And others
- Free monthly phone and/or wireless services with free monthly talk minutes, text messages, and high-speed data.
- If you also apply for the ACP benefit through your Lifeline participation, you may also be able to receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase an internet-connected device, such as a tablet, laptop, or desktop computer.