Free Obama Lifeline Phones

What is an Obama Phone?

Lifeline phones, commonly known as Obama Phones are a product of the national Lifeline program. Lifeline is part of the Universal Service Fund. You’ve probably noticed a payment to the Universal Service Fund included in your phone bill over the years.  The Lifeline program is available to eligible low-income consumers in every state, territory, and commonwealth, as well as on Tribal lands.

What is the history of the Obama Phone?

Since President Ronald Reagan’s administration in 1985, the Lifeline program has provided a discount on phone service for qualifying low-income consumers in an effort to provide all Americans with the security and opportunities that phone service provides. This includes being able to connect to family, jobs, as well as emergency services.

In 2016 the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC); the organization that administers  the Lifeline program, adopted new eligibility guidelines for Lifeline supported services.

Who qualifies for an Obama Phone?

Most people qualify for a Lifeline Assistance Obama Phone because they participate in a federal or state assistance program. Additionally, people can qualify for the lifeline program if they meet any of the below criteria:

  • Medicaid – Medicaid was signed into law by President Johnson on July 30, 1965, as an amendment to the Social Security Act and was one of his Great Society domestic programs.
    The Great Society initiative was intended to elimination poverty and racial injustice in the United States.
    Medicaid specifically, is a state and federally funded program that offers health coverage to certain low-income people, and the elderly  Each state administers its own Medicaid program, but the federal government requires all states to cover certain mandatory health services.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) – Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federally funded program that is designed to provide income assistance to disabled individuals, disabled children and low-income elderly.
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8) The Housing Choice Vouchers program, commonly called Section 8, is a federally funded program that provides financial assistance for housing needs while still allowing families to choose where they live. It is available for low-income individuals and families, the elderly and the disabled.
  • Veteran Pension and Survivors Benefit Programs
  • Tribal Specific Programs –
    • Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF) –
      A federally-funded assistance program, almost identical to the standard Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. This program though, it is available only to members of a federally-recognized tribe; including American Indians or Alaska Natives
    • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
    •  Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) –
      This program provides healthy food to low income families and the elderly living Indian reservations or who reside in designated areas near reservations in the State of Oklahoma.
    • Head Start –  Head Start is a program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Head Start provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parental involvement services to low-income children and their families
  • Income Qualifications – For those not participating in any of the above programs, they can be eligible to receive Obama Phones if they meet the federal government income guidelines. Families are eligible to receive an Obama Phone and Lifeline Service if their income is below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.(Please note: the 135% of Federal Poverty Guidelines only applies to Obama Phone eligibility.)

Federal Poverty Level Guidelines

What are the federal poverty level guidelines for Medicaid, Food Stamps (SNAP), and HUD Section 8 Housing for 2020

Guidelines determine eligibility for The U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation recently published the poverty level guidelines for many of the federal assistance programs, for 2020.

48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia
Persons in Family Household Povery Guideline
 1 $12,490
 2 $16,910
 3 $21,330
 4 $25,750
 5 $30,170
 6 $34,590
 7 $39,010
 8 $43,430
For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $4,420 for each additional person.
Persons in Family Household Povery Guideline
 1 $15.600
 2 $21,130
 3 $26,660
 4 $32,190
 5 $37,720
 6 $43,250
 7 $48,780
 8 $54,310
For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $5,530 for each additional person.
Persons in Family Household Povery Guideline
 1 $14,380
 2 $19,460
 3 $24,540
 4 $29,620
 5 $34,700
 6 $39,780
 7 $44,860
 8 $49,940
For families/households with more than 8 persons, add $5,080 each additional person.