U.S. Government paid $1.6 billion in 2011 to cover the cellular bill for 12.5 million Americans
discount or free service for a landline or a cellphone. The program gives a $30 discount for the activation of a handset, and covers $10 monthly on an actual wireless bill. This works out to about 250 free minutes with the kind of plan required for the basic handsets used in the program. Food Stamp recipients, those who receive Medicaid or other Federal Aid, or those who earn as much as 35% over the federal poverty guidelines, qualify for the program.
But as with any Government program, there are those who abuse the system. Businesweek says 269,000 Lifeline customers are getting free service from two or more carriers. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) has requested that the FCC investigate and the agency has obliged by building a database to see if a subscriber has more than one subsidized phone. While that might have been a useful tool from the beginning of the program, the FCC says after "modernizing" Lifeline, it has set a target of saving $200 million this year by catching those using the system for more than one account. So far, after ridding the rolls of those 269,000 users with multiple accounts, the FCC says it has saved $33 million.
The next time you are complaining about how "laggy" your high-end smartphone is, or you are upset about the latest feature just added to the newest model which you missed out on buying (like that 3300mAh battery), be thankful that you don't have to qualify for a basic handset from Uncle Sam to obtain cellular service.
7. megadirk (Posts: 33; Member since: 28 Jul 2011)
Yes, also the first time I've heard of this. Although I generally disagree with the idea of paying into a fund that gives other people things for free i.e. medical, groceries; cell phones are NOT a necessity. Yes, it's convenient but in no way does this need to be shelled out for free, no matter how entry level the phones are. At this point it doesn't seem like there is anything else for the government to give to the "low income" group, they've now covered anything you might need in life. Why ever stop using the handouts?
8. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
Try checking how many minutes you used on your cell bill. I bet it is considerably more than 250. How would you like to be blocked from making phone calls after you hit the 250 minute point? Are you starting to get the idea that this 'lifeline' plan isn't exactly unlimited free calling that is paid for by other people paying their bill?
20. megadirk (Posts: 33; Member since: 28 Jul 2011)
Not to get into a pissing contest, but I did actually check my minutes, and no, over the past year I haven't gone over 250 in any month. And I never mentioned anything about being unlimited. The point of paying for anybody's minutes is ridiculous. I can afford to pay for my own minutes, data plan, text messages, so thus I am able to pay for someone else's minutes as well? That's just stupid.
51. 14545 (Posts: 1242; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
What's your point? Who cares if it is limited to '250 minutes'? The point is the government SHOULDN"T be paying for cell service. End of story. It doesn't matter if it is 2.5 minutes or 2,500 minutes. Typically those that are poor, are poor for a reason. Nobody held a gun to a single mothers head and said she had to procreate 2-3-4 or whatever times. Track down the "baby daddy" and make his a$$ pay for her "free" cell service. WE HAVE A DEFICIT OF 1.2-4 TRILLION, and DEBT north of 15 trillion. WE CAN"T AFFORD TO PAY FOR PEOPLES CELL SERVICE.
19. JC557 (Posts: 1228; Member since: 07 Dec 2011)
Except nowadays many employers require you to be reachable in as many ways as possible. More often than not, employers see cell phones as a more reliable means of reaching both applicants and employees.
22. megadirk (Posts: 33; Member since: 28 Jul 2011)
I agree with this 100%. It cost a total of $30, if the phone isn't on sale, to activate an account and purchase the phone for Verizon's no contract service. The phone even comes with $10 airtime that lasts for 90 days. There is no reason that you can't get that on your own and have it as a phone that potential employers can get a hold of you buy, and if you already have a job it's also a very cost effective option. It's time for people to stop making excuses and relying on the government/fellow citizens and start being responsible for their own ways of communication.
32. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
they increased the taxes this year. Remember Obama talking about going after those "rich telecommunication companies", guess what, that was a new tax on YOUR bill. people need to pay attention and quit just thinking you know whats going on. because ya dont obviously. lol.
Its something like 2.50 on everyone's phone bill that goes toward this fund every month. check your detailed bill.. its been there for a while. And its a total waist of money. cheap trackphone my ass.. they take that tracphone simcard and stick it into used smartphones.. i see it too often.
people, you have a right to personal responcibility, not to mooch.. use your rights.
69. Tarkio (Posts: 30; Member since: 17 Jan 2012)
Oh, it's a "waist" is it? This has nothing to do with Obama. If people are abusing the program, that should be addressed, absolutely. "You see it too often," lol. What does that mean? You see someone use minutes they get for free in a different phone? OMG! This is a travesty! Someone gave them an old phone and they talk the exact same 250 minutes on a different handset. That's a real scandal, indeed.
72. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
the whole program is a waist. and yes, the raise in taxes has everything to do with obama.
74. TerryCrowley (Posts: 194; Member since: 31 Jul 2011)
I always thought you were one of the more intelligent posters on Phonearena but you're such dips**t you can't even spell waste right. Tard.
75. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
really.. the spelling police? really? i also confuse there, their, and they're all the time too. its called dyslexia. u dont want to see what my posts look like before auto correct picks up. auto correct doesnt always get the right form of the word as well. so, if you dont mind..... oi.
2. DirtyDan (Posts: 7; Member since: 13 Jun 2011)
I don't think I should be thankful that I have a high end phone. I work hard and support myself to pay for my own phone and service. If I were given a high end phone and free phone service then I'd be thankful.
4. Adianshadows (Posts: 66; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
i was thinking the same exact thing. I'd rather save the 90$ a month and deal with a phone like that for free... yes it would suck but if you are on Federal Aide or have to use food stamps i highly doubt the speed of your free phone is any of your worries
25. thephoneguy92 (Posts: 191; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)
Thank you for saying exactly what I was thinking
42. ngo2dd (Posts: 896; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)
Why don't you go to the prepaid company and pay 35 dollar a month. You chose to stay with the 90$ and don't lied about wanting the basic phone if you have 250 minute for free.
27. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)
honestly… since when is america a charity fund… i dont mine helping low-income people with (what should be only a few weeks of) unemployment, but this is just ridiculous…. i work hard for my money and lose 60% of it every month to taxes which go towards stuff like this… i mean im sorry they cant afford it, but thats life… cell phone service isnt a "necessity" to live
29. willardcw4 (Posts: 169; Member since: 01 Oct 2011)
I didn't know there was a tax bracket of 60% (including federal and state).... over-exaggerating? Or do you live somewhere in Connecticut =D
30. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)
no in california… including federal and state i pay 60 percent on income tax
36. ngo2dd (Posts: 896; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)
LOL we all know you are lying. The highest tax bracket is 33% and that is for the one that is in the top 10% of earners. Your state and local does not add up to 27%
40. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
its pretty hefty, but its not 60%. Maybe if you are adding in SS and Fico as well, then yea, it can get up there quickly.
Most people in CA pay between 6-11% state income tax over the already high federal income tax, SS, AMT, and everything else.
There is a reason businesses and people are fleeing california at astonishing rates.. its called high taxes.
41. ngo2dd (Posts: 896; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)
It is not the taxes. Because people are leaving Michigan and Michigan has lower taxes then California. It has more to do with jobs. The 2010 census show that Michigan was the only state to lose it population.
46. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
yea over a 10 year period. CA showed huge growth during the dot.com boom and through the last census and they have been leaving like crazy for the last few years. It is the taxes. Many are moving to near by states like NV and taking advantage of the ultra low taxes, which is why NV is experiencing huge growth. That has been well documented time and time again. Do you really feel the need to argue with me about everything? I was in fact backing up your original point, and now you are arguing with me. lol seriously. And, just like the last few times, your wrong.
"Since at least 2005, more residents have left California than arrived here from other states."
"#3 The state of California currently has the third highest state income tax in the nation: a 9.55% tax bracket at $47,055 and a 10.55% bracket at $1,000,000.
#4 California has the highest state sales tax rate in the nation by far at 8.25%. Indiana has the next highest at 7%.
#5 Residents of California pay the highest gasoline taxes (over 67 cents per gallon) in the United States.
#9 20 percent of the residents of Los Angeles County are now receiving public aid of one kind or another.
#10 The number of people unemployed in the state of California is approximately equal to the populations of Nevada, New Hampshire and Vermont combined.
#12 Residents of California pay some of the highest electricity prices in the entire nation.
#13 The state of California ranks dead last out of all 50 states in the number of emergency rooms per million people."
Has anyone done a Taco Check on NGO? lol
58. ngo2dd (Posts: 896; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)
Nice job giving me a article that don't exist the LAtime one.
Here is the US census data for ya
It show a 10% change in population for california.
Michigan beside Puerto Rico is the only one with a negative change in population. So much for people moving out.
I guess you are one that is wrong.
Both Oregon and Hawaii has a higher state tax and both has a positive change in population around 12%.
Your sale data is wrong it is 7.25% but it can total up to 9.25 depending where you live.
The electricity cost is base on demand. You know the whole energy crisis it had. And has little to do with tax.
It is funny that you state NV because NV has the highest unemployment rate out of all the state at 12.1
Gasoline taxes is by Connecticut 68.0 cent.
60. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
all my links are real
try a quick "why are people leaving california" google search and it will pull up every site.
again, you should learn to read. but im not going to reiterate everything that ive already written, since it already corrects most all of your points that you are trying to make.. again.
you should look up "enron" on that whole energy thing.. lol.
wikipedia is not a recognized source for any type of official paperwork, and as thus, it is wrong. you are trying to use Wiki to correct a government backed site like city-data. do you not see the irony in that? lol
"moving to" and "employment" are not the same thing. im not even going to get into how unemployment is actually measured and how your statistic is a farce. look it up if you want. lets not even get into how statistically insignificant the difference between CA's unemployment and NV's unemployment is. Also considering NV's unemployment was at 14% just a few months ago, its showing an improvement. But again, thats a statistical farce, and you need to look it up on your own if you want to understand why.
also you should check your gas tax info, california is worst in the nation with a blended 41.5 cent per gallon gas tax as of Jan 2012, and the taxes are going up because of the new year.
please, stop.. your behind. lol
61. ngo2dd (Posts: 896; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)
How am I behind? you state that CA is losing people and the US census show they CA is still gaining people at a faster rate then people are leaving. It is not about just about taxes but where the Jobs are. Michigan has a 6% flat sale taxes but it still lost .6% of it population in the 2010 census.
CA has the 7th highest average income in American wow it most really suck living there.
My original post was about how it is not just about the higher taxes and how Michigan was the only state to lose it population.
62. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
no, obviously you dont know what a CENSUS is. a CENSUS is a once every 10 years count of all the people in the state... legal or otherwise. it does not show yearly projections, increases or decreases. If you were actually able to read a single article that i presented, most of them actually touched on the subject. SINCE 2005 THE STATE HAS BEEN LOSING MORE PEOPLE THAN IT HAS GAINED.
Is it really that hard to understand? Good frikkin lord.
Really.. please.. can we get a taco check, isle ngo2dd.
48. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)
ha belive me i know… i live and do my business in california.. yes i exaggerated with 60 but it honestly is not a far cry from 50 which i still think is exorbitant.. with everything including all my other taxes and even deductions it easily reaches 60
and i second pretty much everything remixfa said about Ca… and dont forget the taxes for education that go to the worst ranked (but highest paid) school system in america (LA)
47. Lucas777 (Posts: 2137; Member since: 06 Jan 2011)
ya i was exagerating. i pay somewhere between 40 and 50& when state and federal income are combined
53. 14545 (Posts: 1242; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
You obviously haven't looked into the tax system much, have you? After you factor in property taxes, sales taxes, income taxes, etc, depending on your income it can reach into the 50-60% range. Especially if you're single and and make somewhere in the 75-125k a year range. Yes, some of it is consumption, but it all adds up in the end.
3. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
As the article says, the subscriber is given a basic phone and 250 minutes of service. The idea is to provide the subscriber the ability to contact emergency service personnel (911) and make necessary phone calls (like doctors appointments, pharmacy renewals, etc.). Yes, there is always going to be abusers (269,000 with multiple accounts for example), but the vast majority (12.5 million) are receiving a benefit at no cost to the U.S. credit card balance.
56. 14545 (Posts: 1242; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
AT NO COST? You realize there is no such thing as free parking, right? Also, the government should ask for it's money back if @$128 per subscriber only get 250 minutes. You can buy a tracfone for like 50 bucks then another 50 for like 500 minutes. So, not only are we being taken to the cleaners by the abusers, but also by the companies that we pay for this service. I guess it is just tit for tat politics; you help me get elected and ill pad your wallet.
5. squallz506 (banned) (Posts: 1075; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
personally, i know someone who sells these phones...
dude offered to sell me a phone with lifetime service for $100 and a copy of my drivers license. i kindly declined. this program, just like LINC, welfare and social security has its fair share of abusers.
6. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
I doubt that you will find any safety net program that is completely free of abusers. The challenge is to weed out the abusers so the program benefits get to those who truly need the program.
70. Tarkio (Posts: 30; Member since: 17 Jan 2012)
They are not offering lifetime service idiot. It only lasts as long as a person is eligible and they have to be recertified periodically. It's not a case of you get a phone and can use it for free for the rest of your life. I'm not debating that someone tried to "sell" you one, but it doesn't exist.
9. Bigbluetundra (Posts: 45; Member since: 03 Nov 2011)
As long as we still have homeless and hungry Americans, we shouldn't be fulfilling any higher level needs like cell phones. First shelter and food, then toys.
11. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
How would you propose to provide homeless and needy Americans with the ability to call for doctors appointments? Or, emergency medical response? Many are homeless, so no land line.
13. droiddomination (Posts: 203; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)
I would propose that droid dumbass doug pay for all the fees he wants to give away to the poor out of his big paycheck and let the rest of us hardworkers elect to pay for such fees, not make if mandatory! i bet this dude is a recipient himself...obvious do not have a job or you would not have the time to make comments all day! what a sad world we live in now adays!!! LORD HELP US!
14. quakan (Posts: 1266; Member since: 02 Mar 2011)
What a sad world when people feel like helping someone less fortunate is a bad idea.
54. 14545 (Posts: 1242; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
Helping is one thing, giving them free toys is another. Food, shelter,(
16. squallz506 (banned) (Posts: 1075; Member since: 19 Oct 2011)
droiddomination, last time i checked it is not mandatory to sign a contract, or own a phone. my monthly4g kicks no money to pay for this plan. cell phones are needed because payphones are disappearing. and the underpriveledged need to contact their legal guardians, case workers, parole officers, doctors, and transportation.
49. Bigbluetundra (Posts: 45; Member since: 03 Nov 2011)
I'd propose the same way they see the Dr now, they just walk into an ER. 911 is when an emergency arises, which when compared to the daily need for food water and shelter, isn't as high of a need. Again, I'm not saying screw the poor, I'm just saying make sure ALL the ppor people get food before SOME of the poor people get food + cell phones.
10. Uzzelien (Posts: 131; Member since: 22 Feb 2011)
How about we take that 1.6 billion and tell colleges make tuition cheaper and you can have some of this or...don't. and to bad.
15. quakan (Posts: 1266; Member since: 02 Mar 2011)
Cheaper college tuition? I like the sound of that
73. Uzzelien (Posts: 131; Member since: 22 Feb 2011)
wow I guess two people don't like the thought of making college cheaper.
12. PAPINYC (banned) (Posts: 2315; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)
I don't mind it if Seniors or people with disabilities receive this as long as they are "legal" Americans. However, I am tired of paying taxes so that so many people can enter this country illegally and start milking the system, like the many illegal women who live with the illegal men [but, tell HRA the baby's (more like babies') daddy(s) abandoned them] and collect W.I.C. Food Vouchers, Food Stamps, Section 8, Welfare (Public Assistance), etc. Meanwhile, an illegal daddy is living with them the entire time and working 'under the table'.
17. quakan (Posts: 1266; Member since: 02 Mar 2011)
You're talking about a minority group of people, majority of those recipients are legal Americans who have a hard time making ends meet while working their ass off. You're so intolerable of immigrants it's sickening. Those immigrants in a lot of cases are poorer than most of our welfare recipients here.
21. PAPINYC (banned) (Posts: 2315; Member since: 30 Jul 2011)
I'm not intolerable of anyone, I'm just tired of paying taxes so that illegal immigrants who have eight children can get a free ride. I shouldn't have to pay for those kids since I certainly didn't have unprotected sex with the mothers.
37. phonton (Posts: 65; Member since: 27 Dec 2011)
Even the immigrants who pay their cellphone bills are subject to these crappy funding charges. Why would they have to pay for this funding if no part of it is actually going to benefit them?!
23. nastynaps (Posts: 93; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
If you think people come here illegally not to work and get free cell phones then you must bathe in political rhetoric kool-aid. You probably think they take all our jobs too, working as busboys and picking fruits. I'm sure you only mean those identifiable illegals...what are they called...Mexicans?
55. 14545 (Posts: 1242; Member since: 22 Nov 2011)
Yeah, the illegal argument is a straw man if there ever was one. That being said, this country(and world) needs to learn the definition of a necessity. We need to define needs vs. wants. A cell phone is needed just like a car is "needed". Yes, it makes our lives easier, but either are a necessity. I'm all for helping the poor, as long as the poor are only getting the necessities. That is where I draw the line. Also, if you are a chronic drain on the system, then eventually you should be cut off.
18. -box- (Posts: 3960; Member since: 04 Jan 2012)
Wow, Senator McCaskill is actually doing something good for a change
24. nastynaps (Posts: 93; Member since: 16 Aug 2011)
Quite frankly, I don't understand why the government subsidizes something like that. I just don't feel cell phones are a necessary part of American life. Granted that may change in the very near future but with policies like this we'll never actually test the usefulness of them. I'd rather see the extra money I put in get somebody health care.
38. ngo2dd (Posts: 896; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)
So don't send your kids to a public school of any kind okay because that is a government program. No to library too okay because how deal the public have assess to information. The next you become unemployment don't collect unemployment okay? And don't collect S.S because that is even too. Oh ya only use toll road okay there buddy.
50. vvelez5 (Posts: 623; Member since: 29 Jan 2011)
I will tackle each point one at a time.
Agreed public schools are horrible and I will be sending my kids to private school.
I haven't been to a library in over 5 years since I do all my research online now.
Never have collected unemployment even when I was unemployed for 6 months 2 years back.
Since I get taxed for public roads those are my roads I would rather it all be privatized yes, so I would only have to pay for it for the times I used them and the private toll roads are nicer than public roads.
Also for SS repeal that already please the government shouldn't be stealing from me to give to others anyways. I would even go as far to not collect SS later in life if the Federal Government gets rid of SS all together.
Any questions? Small government = best government.
52. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
1) we pay for public schooling by force of our taxes. Given the choice, i would rather divert my fund to a private school. being an actual parent, i dont think its fair that i am forced to subsidize public school if i want to send my child to private school. that is paying for 2 schools while only getting 1 education.
2) what the hell is a library? lol we have this thing called the internet and digital books on my phone.
3) you pay INTO unemployment in order to be eligible. Its a government program that is not exactly paid by the masses.. its paid by you.. to go to you.. when you are between jobs on the most basic of explanations. Yes, it goes into a mass fund, but you have to have worked so many hours for so long before you are eligible. And how much you get is also partially due to how much you put in (at least in FL). Companies also pay into this program. That program is for WORKING americans who are between jobs and having a hard time, not for social succubi.
4) We are not going to get SS when we are older. Its going to be bankrupt and SOL in the next 5-10 years. I put 20% of my paycheck into my 401k so I have a nice fat retirement fund. (might not be a bright idea right now ... lol)
5) The Road is a constitutionally mandated function of government, not some government handout program.
59. ngo2dd (Posts: 896; Member since: 08 Jul 2011)
Wow you can't be more wrong. Workers/employee do not paid into unemployment, the employer/company does. Only 4 out of the 50 plus DC the employer is the one that paid. In Michigan you get 75% of what you make. It has nothing to due with have much to paid into it because you don't unless you live in the other 4 state.
S.S is not going bankrupt in 5-10 year. It has a 2.6 trillion dollar surplus
Here is another article showing that S.S will be able to pay 75% through 2085
There is no hard data showing that the education you get in a public is an worst then a private at the primary level. College level is different.