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Using a Government Free Cell Phone Plan

An older woman talking on the phone.
A cell phone service needs to be reliable, even when it is free. This is a page about using a government free cell phone plan.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

I have a free government cell phone. It is a free cell phone, but I'm having to spend $5-10 per month for talk minutes, plus the thing acts up all the time. I put itself on airplane mode and blue tooth at the same time while I was talking with someone this morning. I am not technical, but I am trying to learn. It also disconnects my calls all the time. Does any one have suggestions for either buying my own phone and using it with the government plan and or if there is a plan that is cheap and easy to use?

I live in Maryland and each state is only allowed to use certain phones for the free phone program. T-mobile and AT&T are the phones I can use. They have to be unlocked. I called the T-mobile store this morning and she said all the phones they sell at the store are locked.

I have looked on Amazon, but I am concerned I'd buy it and then not have the right thing. I am coming to you first because I don't get much help from the free cell phone company.

Answers

March 23, 20190 found this helpful
Best Answer

Hi,

There should be no charges on a government free phone. Here is a link that provides information:

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www.freegovernmentcellphones.net/.../government-cell-phone-really-free

Is your phone ReachOut Wireless, or Safelink Wireless or Assurance Wireless? These are the ones the government pays for.

Blessings,

Robyn


Safelink Wireless, Assurance Wireless and ReachOut Wireless,

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I have had a free government cell phone for over 5 years now. It has never been an easy situation. I can't get through to help that my 56 year old ears can understand. I am not being a racist when I say that either so done post me that. The customer service reps are usually foreigners and I just can't understand them.

The problem right now is they told me I had to re-certify. I did that. Now I just got an email stating that's not what I was to do, I was to reapply completely. Does anyone have a trick to this or who I can call? My social worker who is new to the job and new to me said we will work on it when she visits for the first time, but I have been working on this for several months.
I am ready to throw the whole thing away, but I have got to have a phone. Any suggestions are very much appreciated. Thank you.

Answers

April 9, 20190 found this helpful

This website shows the various agencies you can report the problem to:

www.freegovernmentcellphones.net/.../file-official-complaint-about-your...

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April 10, 20190 found this helpful

thank you yes i had called it. it is a recording that says they cant help with recertifcation, problems or anything to do with my phone.??????

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April 10, 20190 found this helpful

You should see if the new social worker can help you before trying other resources as this type of help is part of the services they should provide.

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If this does not work you can contact someone in Elder Care for your state.

eldercare.acl.gov/.../Index.aspx

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April 11, 20190 found this helpful

Your other post says you are in Maryland. I am not sure if MD is the same as PA, but here are my suggestions:

1. Since most of the free government cell phones go hand and in hand with your Medical Assistance Health Insurance or dual eligible Medical Assistance/Medicare health insurance, my first try would be to your state's department of public welfare and ask them to help.

dhs.maryland.gov/.../medical-
assistance/

If that is where your new social worker is from, that is fine...I see nothing wrong with still calling their office and asking for help. If they direct you back to your social worker, you can state that she is new and you need clarification.

(They may direct you to your insurance carrier directly--that number should be on the back of your insurance card--so don't feel like you are getting the run around if this happens--each state is a little different so they can tell you who handles this particular question of your benefit.)

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2. If the run around is too frustrating and you feel that they can't help you figure out the reapply/re certify/switch phone process or keep pushing you back to your social worker, then my next step would be to go (in person) to your Maryland State Government Representative's office and ask for their help. Here is a finder:

mgaleg.maryland.gov/.../frmmain.aspx?pid=legisrpage&tab=subject6...

Hopefully yours will be as helpful as ours has been to us as we have had to approach their kind staff many times over the last 20 years. They even have a free notary service and helped us get money back from the PA Unclaimed Property coffers (which was not a lot, but helped us out when this happened). I can't say enough good about the PA team!!

Anyhow, I digress. Their services are paid for by tax dollars so you should not have to pay anything to speak to them.

Take all of your concerns and all of your paperwork (letters you have about your phone, your medical assistance, the email about reapplying etc.) to them and they can work their magic and hopefully they can help you get on a better path with the phone.

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3. With either party--the Department of Public Welfare OR the State Rep... since you don't like the carrier you have for your current phone, talk to them about switching carriers.

Maryland has 15 or 16 carriers who support the government program, so perhaps they will be candid with you and tell you which is the best of the services and you can switch. www.freegovernmentcellphones.net/.../maryland-government-cell-phone-providers

Wishing you all of the best in your quest!! Post back with an update.

Blessings and prayers for an easy solution!!

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