Number of eligible residents rises by more than 113,000 since 2011; program can help more than 1.8 million Pennsylvania residents stay connected to family, medical services and jobs.
– Feb. 24, 2012
– Assurance Wireless
, which provides eligible residents with a free cell phone and 250 minutes of free monthly voice service, marks its one-year anniversary of providing services to Pennsylvania residents. Assurance Wireless is a Lifeline Assistance program supported by the federal Universal Service Fund.
“Many families in all parts of Pennsylvania are feeling the worst effects of this economy,” said Mark Price, labor economist for the Keystone Research Center. He mentioned cuts to education and affordable health care for working Pennsylvanians, which are making life harder for struggling families and undermining economic growth.
More than 485,000 Pennsylvania residents are without a job, and more than 20 percent are living below the federal poverty line. Assurance Wireless customers enjoy the ability to provide a contact number to and receive calls from a prospective employer, which, studies show, can improve the chances of securing employment.
“We look forward to continuing to provide this service to eligible Pennsylvanians who need support and resources during what continues to be a rough economic time for many,” said Grace Boehm, director of strategy and business planning, Assurance Wireless.
“I was unemployed for an extended amount of time because of layoffs,” stated Evan M., 37, an Assurance Wireless customer. “The phone and service I received from Assurance Wireless were invaluable to my finding new employment and to my efforts to recover from this recession. It allowed me to contact potential employers, provide a way for them to respond to me, and helped me save money. Assurance also gave me peace of mind that I had a way to stay connected to my kids while away from home.”
According to a recent report, “If all 28.5 million adults eligible for Lifeline Assistance were to take advantage of the program and earn at the same rate and level as [the study] sample, it would result in $3.7 billion in fresh income for the poor and near poor.”
According to a nationwide survey from Assurance Wireless*, adults with an income of less than $25,000 are as likely to use their mobile phone for employment searches as those with higher incomes.
Assurance Wireless is a Lifeline Assistance program supported by the low income program of the federal Universal Service Fund which is designed to insure that quality telecommunications services are available to low-income consumers at affordable rates. Customers eligible for Assurance Wireless include those who participate in Medicaid, Food Stamps/SNAP, General Assistance, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, The National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Program (NSL). Customers may also qualify based on low household income. Eligibility varies by state. Supporting documentation is required to prove eligibility.
In addition to a voice mail account
and call waiting, Assurance Wireless provides caller ID and access to 911 in case of emergency. Beyond the 250 free voice minutes each month, customers can choose from other low cost options to pay for additional minutes, texting, international calling and more at competitive rates.
Eligible residents can apply for Assurance Wireless by calling (toll-free) 800-395-2171, or visiting www.assurancewireless.com
People who don’t qualify for Assurance Wireless but who are also struggling and searching for value can take advantage of payLo by Virgin Mobile. payLo was especially designed with value-conscious wireless consumers in mind, offering plans for as little as $20/month for 400 minutes or access to 90 days of service for $20 at a rate of less than $7 per month. payLo is available at more than 40,000 retail stores, including Best Buy, RadioShack and Target. Prospective low-income customers who find they are not eligible for Assurance Wireless may learn more about Virgin Mobile’s no-contract payLo Plan options by visiting http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phone-plans/payloplans.jsp#.
Assurance Wireless is available in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. This list of states continues to expand and can be found on the Assurance website.
Airtime charges apply when accessing voice mail via an Assurance Wireless phone once free minutes have been depleted.