Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Review: Lifeline: A $1-Month Phone Line For Low Income Households!

Lifeline offers extremely cheap phone service for low income households. If you are receiving any public assistance, e.g. Medicaid or Foodstamps, you are automatically eligible. If not, you may still be eligible, as each state has different eligibility rules. Check LifelineSupport.org for more info.

New York: Verizon Lifeline - $1 a month - yes, regular landline!
Note: You don't have to get the $1 a month plan. If you want more features, you can get a more expensive line for very cheap as well.

The line includes unlimited free incoming calls and $0.09 a phone call for outgoing local calls. 1800 numbers are free. No caller ID or voicemail. (Unless you get GrandCentral.)
Total bill after all taxes: Around $1.50 a month!!!
The first month there will be a $10.00 installation charge. If you already have a land-line and are changing to Lifeline then the charge is $5.oo

Sign up for Verizon Lifeline: Call 800 555-5000 (or 800 483-2000). Tell them you want to sign up for Lifeline.

They might make you first sign up for a regular plan and after they approve you for lifeline they will credit back your account. If you get lucky they might preapprove you over the phone, if you give them your Medicaid number, in which case you will be on lifeline from day one. It is not that bad if they put you on a regular plan first - but it's easier if they approve you straight away over the phone, and not have to wait to get credited back for the first month or two of regular prices.

Either way they will ask you to fax or mail them this form.

TIP: Verizon will install one jack for $10.00, any extra jack will cost $150.00. So, before they come to install the line, make sure that if there is only one working jack, it isn't in an inconvenient place. If there is a working jack, Verizon will not install another one! (unless you pay $150...)

Take it to the next level:
  • If you use this line together with Grandcentral (read here about that) then you can have a fully functional land line with caller ID, voicemail and free outgoing calls for $1.50 a month!
  • Alternatively, this works great if only DSL is available in your area, and you need a land line to connect. You can also use it as a backup if you rely on VOIP.
If you live out of NY: Check LifelineSupport.org to see what plan you can get in your area. Or call your phone company and see what their arrangement with Lifeline is. You can even get a discounted cell phone plan.

Related articles:

Free Cell Phone Plan For Low Income Households
GrandCentral - Review

The Gizmo Project - Review

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