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Cell phone offered for no fare, is that fair?

READ MORE: Cell phone offered for no fare, is that fair?
A free cell phone, free minutes, and free voicemail… sound too good to be true? A government program is making it possible for those who qualify, but not everybody's happy about it. The program is called Safelink. It provides free cell phones and service to the elderly, homeless, and disabled. It is paid for by federal tax dollars. Dolores Brown saw a commercial for Safelink a couple weeks ago, and decided to check it out. "It's completely free, you know, and that's wonderful. I just can't imagine anyone doing anything like that for the elderly,” she said. Dolores is 70 years old. She's an actress and singer here in town, but can't get enough work to pay the bills. She relies on food stamps and government-assisted living, and now a free phone. Originally designed to provide free emergency-service to landline telephones, Safelink recently expanded to include cell service. A pre-paid company called Tracfone provides those eligible with 71 free roll-over minutes and the option to buy more. Now Dolores feels more comfortable leaving home. "When you're in the street and you have an emergency, everybody, everybody has a cell phone, and to have to borrow somebody's phone in the street is really embarrassing,” she said. Some, like Cindy Bodenheimer, don't mind her tax dollars paying into the cell phone program. "I work with elderly people and there are a lot of elderly people that live by themselves, anytime we can keep somebody from going to the hospital, and maybe a problem being addressed at home, I think is a good idea. And the same thing for homeless people, if they had somebody they could call that might could give them some immediate assistance, it might save everybody in the long run." Others are not pleased. "It stinks. We're working for them to get a freebie, even if it's for 911 purposes it's still, you know, get a job, that's all there is to it,” said Joe Marx. Social workers and those who work with the homeless say the program provides the means to get that much-needed job. Dolores says she understands people's concerns, but is glad Safelink is there to help her. "I'm sorry for the people who do have to pay, because we're living in a bad time, economy-wise, but by the same token, it's still wonderful that there are people out there willing to help the elderly, who cannot afford it." According to Nielsen research, 90 percent of Americans have at least one cell phone. About 32 million people don't have cell service. Cell phone companies like Tracfone hope when the economy turns around, subsidized customers that no longer qualify for the free phones will turn into paying customers.

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so sad how people judge

My husband has been a hard worker for yours and 3 weeks ago fell from a 30 foot roof we also lost our home and right around christmas time and we have 2 boys 9 and 4 to take care of and still waiting for work mens comp so now i am receving food stamps and also got a free phone. mt brother is lending us a car and helping me to take my husband back and for to the docs he broke right foot and left knee and can not walk. i use to be to proud to ask for help. but i thank god for the help me and my family is receving now while my husband is in a wheel chair till after the new years we have paid taxes for years and years and only now asking fot help. think befor u judge just try to put your self in someone else shoes just for one day. my husband will be back to work and gladly pay into the taxes to help others who are in our kinda situation. Thanks to all honest hard working tax payng americans like my husband who does not judge. u know i think for the first time i might even have to get some kinda help for a christmas for my kids god bless u all think befor u judge please


Looking into this for my elderly neighbor I checked out how it is available. It's nothing more or less than the Lifeline program which was instituted in the Reagan administration, and is funded not by taxes at all but by the telecom companies, same as it has been since its inception. It's government supported in that the government requires phone companies to provide the service where it is deemed necessary.

You people need to check things out before you get all overexcited; it's hard on your cardiovascular system to get all het up like that. This kind of uninformed hollering and name-calling is typical of 7 year olds, but it would be nice if those of us who are adults could at least act grown up.

No need to take my word for it. Check for yourself. It only took me one free call to the local telephone company to get the scoop. You can do the same, unless you just get your kicks squawking like a stuck pig.

Safelink, I want my free stuff too!!!

GIMME GIMME GIMME, that is all people can think about. Just like "The Annointed One", gimme my free stuff. Nothing is free, just the ones who pay nothing never feel the costs incurred. I, the law abiding, taxpayer, will feel the repercussions of the gimme attitude that the liberals send out. I have to pay for your lack of diligence, accountability, and responsibility. Those 3 words are something you wont see any liberal abiding to.

The carriers HAVE to pay into the fund....

....and what do you call it when companies are FORCED to pay a fee to the government?

A tax

AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Century Link...they are all TAXPAYERS, Einstein.

BTW, they then pass that cost onto.....YOU! Check out your telephone bill...if you get one.

Tell your "elderly neighbor" and everyone else who leeches off the taxpayers to start paying his or her own way through life.

The same funds

You mean the same funds the telephone companies put in each and every bill to the consumers? Technically speaking you are correct, it is not a tax.

FREE FREE FREE Hurry for your phone.

"Dolores Brown saw a commercial for Safelink a couple weeks ago, and decided to check it out. "It's completely free, you know, and that's wonderful. I just can't imagine anyone doing anything like that for the elderly,” she said." Completely free. Are people so completely delusional that they believe that? "Dolores is 70 years old. She's an actress and singer here in town, but can't get enough work to pay the bills. She relies on food stamps and government-assisted living, and now a free phone." Here's a novel idea, find another line of work besides "actress" and "singer". Or move to California where they may actually have work for you. (California is already broke from the free giveaway programs) "A pre-paid company called Tracfone provides those eligible with 71 free roll-over minutes and the option to buy more." If you can afford more cell phone minutes, that money needs to come back and subsidize someone else's FREE PHONE!!!!!! But wait, that would be taking your money instead of taxpayers money. I can see why that would be a problem. Now you know how we feel. I wish her the best. At 70, there is certainly compassion for her. But at what point do people become responsible for their own future. Do we subsidize someone who wants to be a muleskinner, when there's not a market for it? I guess so.

free cell phone for people on food stamps

i would like to know how i go about getting one of these phones we get ssi and medicaid and foodstamps

It's Getting Bad

I am really starting to get tired of working to support and provide luxury to those who do not. When someone comes to me and asks for my help, I give them the money in my wallet, the food on my table, the shirt off my back or the work of my limbs to help relieve an honest need, and most people that I associate with do the same. I am not opposed to helping people, but this garbage is ridiculous! Has anyone ever seen the "used phone drops" that are just for this, so that people in need can be given a free, operating phone (without minutes, voicemail, etc) that WILL CALL 911 without being activated. Giving these people free minutes (68/month in Georgia) at taxpayer expense is NOT what we need. (Tracfone charges 19.99 for 60 minutes, so about 20.00 / month is what we are giving these people, PLUS the phone, PLUS the extra services, and that is IF the government isn't paying more than the retail price, which is highly improbable given the track record of the U.S. Government.) Like I said, I don't mind helping, so long as I can do so of my OWN FREE WILL and know that I CAN REFUSE IF AND WHEN I CHOOSE, but I don't appreciate being forced to condone laziness. I really have to wonder why I should continue to try and advance myself. Why should I work to make more money? Why should I contribute to my profession and try to help make things run smoother? What is in it for me? It used to be that the individual that worked and produced was rewarded. Now the individual that produces is penalized, and the individual who does nothing is rewarded. Socialism at it's finest. What say we all quit our jobs, sit at home,talk on our government paid phones, ride the government subsidized bus from our government subsidized housing to the government run library to use the internet, then to our doctor, where medicaid pays for our visit, then to the pharmacy where medicaid buys our Xanax because we can't "deal with the stress of not working", our high blood pressure pills because we have become obese from being inactive, and our Oxycodone because our back is hurt from our obesity, (or our Methadone because we got addicted to heroin or some other narcotic analgesic at some point in our lives) then to the grocery store where WIC buys food for our children (when they are not eating free school meals) and food stamps buy food for the rest of the family, and use whatever actual money we can scrounge up to buy beer, cigarettes, and other items that the government still (gasp) refuses to provide and sit back and smoke, dose and drink ourselves into oblivion while everything around us crumbles into dust, because nobody cares to keep it up anymore? It is coming to that. Two simple words could save this country, should enough people choose to live by them... Pride and Responsibility.

it's getting bad

You know I understand you on somethings! I paid into with my taxes when I worked. I am now disabled raising 2 children!!! I can't work ,, and have to rely on food stamps, and medical. You act like everybody is bad, because we collect welfare. You wait until your situation is bad, and you need help with this stuff, you will have a different attitude! Some people do abuse the system. They should be punished. NOT THE ONES THAT HAVE NO CHOICE! Honey, I wish that I could work!!! So, I can do more things with my children, not worry about my bills, and do things on my own! Thankyou for your tax money for helping my family out!!! Thank me for putting tax money into it when I was working! Cheryl



Cell Phones etc.etc.etc.

Reponse to Izzy. Amen Brother!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Interested in running for public office? You got my vote!

A good idea, if done right.

The phones should only be able to call emergency services or a central call center were the operator could then connect you to say, a family doctor or listed family member in the event of an emergency.

Cell Phones for people who Don't Pay For Them !!

No !!! No !!! No !!! This is just WRONG! If they can not afford a wired phone, why should anyone be GIVEN a cell phone? This is pure non-sense. If you can not afford it, you should not get it for FREE. (Healthcare is the only exception.)

cell phones/next election

Does anyone know who CAN and WILL run in the next election. I don't mean the same ole' same ole'. We don't need ANYONE who has been in the "system". We need fresh clean blood at all levels in our government. Please someone step up to the plate or we will be stuck with the same bunch all over again. We need to demand term limits and no retirement benefits for Congress like we have now. They should be more in line with the everyday working people. Will someone PLEASE step up to the plate!

this program started BEFORE OBAMA

As far as I can tell this program started before B.O. was elected. It is not offered in all states yet and they add states here and there. I found several articles one was "SafeLink Wireless to Aid Low-Income Households in TN" dated: August 13, 2008 also Wireless and Mobile News: August 14, 2008 SafeLink Wireless to Give Free Phones to Low-Income :Saturday October 25, 2008 So we cant blame him for this one folks.

Quite Correct

This program did start in 2008. At which time the liberal Democrats led by Pit Bull Pelosi and spineless Harry Reid shoved through programs like this with visions of sugar plums dancing at the thought of what they could accomplish after January 20. Had the Bush Administration proposed this plan, the liberals and media would have been all over it with opposition. You are quite correct, this is one Obama can not claim credit or blame for. This is one, however, which the liberal Democrats in Congress need to stand up and take responsibility for. And I ask again, if this is for emergency use only, why is there a need for voice mail?

freebie phone

They get 68 min. and phone free. You are eligible in N.C. if you receive benefits from one of the following programs: * Federal Public Housing Assistance/ Section 8 * Food Stamps * Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) * Supplemental Security Income (SSI) * Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) * Medicaid * Crisis Intervention Program * Work First A form must be completed to indicate that you participate in one of these programs. The process to qualify for Lifeline Service depends on the State you live in. In general, you may qualify if... 1. You already participate in other State or Federal assistance program such as Federal Public Housing Assistance, Food Stamps and Medicaid. OR 2. Your total household income is at or below 135% of the poverty guidelines set by your State and/or the Federal Government. AND 3. No one in your household currently receives Lifeline Service through another phone carrier. 4. You have a valid United States Postal Address. In order for us to ship you your free phone you must live at a residence that can receive mail from the US Post Office. Sorry, but P.O. Boxes cannot be accepted. In addition to meeting the guidelines above you will also be required to provide proof of your participation in an assistance program, or proof of your income level.


our government gets MORE AND MORE wasteful...and nobody is going to do a darn thing about it...FREE CELL PHONES..since when did a cell phone become a necessity? What in the WORLD did people do 15 years ago without one? Just more SPEND SPEND SPEND for those that don't work and just ride the system. I am SICK of this crap! We ALREADY pay for 911 services that allow for a HOME PHONE to dial 911 FOR FREE...FREE even if you don't have service....pick up the phone and dial 911 and thats ALL YOU NEED!...but OHHH NO...we have to give the monkeys on our back FREE stuff...because..dangit it's NO FAIR working people have it and we don't....I am not voting for ONE SINGLE incumbent next go round...I don't care if HITLER runs...I just want to be RID of these numb skulls that don't have the mathematical skills of my 8 year old!

Not everyone who is getting

Not everyone who is getting these free phones are bad people who are all about what they can get for free...I myself do not have one...i however WAS a CNA and my husband WAS an electrical engineer...the nursing home i worked for caught fire about 2 yrs ago and put me outta work there and i decided to take some time off and be with my kids I WAS ABLE TO DO THAT THE ECONOMY WASNT CRAP THEN!! my husband made more then enough money for us to survive on and august of this year his company approached him and all of there employees and told them that they where out of was short notice and we had no idea it was even comming...we have 2 very small children and both of us are out of work and believe me WE HAVE BOTH BEEN LOOKING AND CALLING AND DRIVEING AROUND hunting places that may be hireing...and NOTHING i took a seasonal job makeing $8 an hour i get between 15-25 hrs a week now add that up...i have a house payment, 2 children 1 that is still in diapers, electric, water, groceries ALL NECESSITIES...i have never been on drugs my husband and i both have college degrees...we have always been good people helping anyone we can when we had the ability...and yes some people do abuse the system and dont TRY but you need to keep in mind when you are going on about all those people who just dont diserve this service think about this....look at my situation..what if it was you...what if all of a sudden you lost your job...and you look around but nothing in your area is even get a seasonal job just to make sure your kids have diapers or water...what would you do? what if it got so bad that you had to just let your phone go cuz it is a luxery..would u not apply for a free phone so that there is a number for an employer to contact you if a job opening comes available...or so you can call your childs doctor to get them seen because they are sick....come on....not everyone is abuseing the system and not everyone is trying to take advantage of FREE phones just cuz everyone has them....there are some good people out there who really need this help perhapse haveing a free phone for a month will allow an employer to contact them for work and who knows ONE LESS PERSON NEEDING FREE SERVICES....and for those who cant find work and are looking and are just down on there luck because of our economy keep them in your prayers and hope that they to will b able to get a job and not have to be on assistance...think about it what if it was you? what would you do?

also to Clevenative about free cell phone

Well you just told us why you get SSI. You're an ex-junky or probably still one, that's why it might mess up your methadone program. I guess you choose to do drugs instead of trying to take honest care of yourself. That's another thing our tax dollars go toward's, is helping out drug addicts. They need to get free medical,food,assistance of all kinds because they want to spend their SSI on their drug habit. Like someone commented earlier, we all might as well quit our jobs. We can get everything free. And another thing, I thought Tracfone wanted to get them as paying customers later. I guess we're now helping out them too. What about the taxpayers. It's all about helping everybody but the people who work their butts off, trying to pay their bills and get somewhere in life.

When is enough going to be

When is enough going to be enough? Where's MY free cell phone? Where's MY food stamps? Where's MY free housing? I sure would like to have everything handed to ME. If I could get all this stuff for FREE, then I would have SO MUCH MONEY to spend on the "important things"! But NOOOO! That's Not gonna happen for me!! My parents foolishly instilled a horrible idea into my brain. They told me to work hard for what I need in this world and the "wants" would take care of themselves. It would appear that my parents were "mis-informed". I've been "elected" to pay for EVERYBODY BUT ME to have these luxuries! Apparently, laziness DOES have it's rewards! Silly, silly parents! What were THEY thinking???

I am all for helping out the

I am all for helping out the elderly and disabled. Yes they need certain types of assistance. But did anyone think that maybe free cell phones should be restricted to those who meet a really tight list of qualifications? I receive medicaid for my one kid and wic, but i work full time and try to pay the rest of my bills. I pay for my own cell phone, i pay for the gas in my car and make the payment each month. Do I get handouts? No. I just asked for a little help when my kid came into the world. Now that I am back on my feet and elegible for insurance at my work, my kid can be covered from that and not need medicaid. But then again most don't know when to give up the help they get and get back on their own 2 feet. What ever happened to americans supporting themselves? the homeless don't need free phones...let them use the ones in the shelters.

free cell phone

With all the negative comments regarding the free cell phone issues i thought i would leave a aunt recieved a free cell phone today from safe link...which she was very thankful for...she was diagnosed with lung cancer a year ago...after her 6 month check up & 30 some weeks of treatment she was told it was clear...however 2 weeks ago we found out that she now has brain cancer...she is living on a limited income as she is not able to work at this time...this phone enables her to make & revieve calls when needed from her dr etc...i think that it is sad that as americans we are more angry about someone getting something for free rather than the concern for those who need it...while i do agree that some people may be getting these phones that do not need them...instead of focusing on that why dont we think of the ones who truly are in need of these services & as fellow caring americans we are helping those people...thanks

Has anyone CONSIDDERED????

I am really glad that your aunt got her phone. I am currently unemployed and still paying taxes and am happy that your aunt is benefitting. Has anyone who is complaining about their tax dollars going to help others even considdered that you have been paying SSI and medicare tax since you started working? Have you even realized that those taxes that are supposed to pay to your benefit, actually have paid for your grandparrents and even your parrents to receive services upon reaching retirement. Have you considdered that the taxes that your children are paying probably will not be there for you benefit when you retire??? Having said that, would you stop paying taxes and instead support your parrents or grandparrents upon their retirement, out ofyour own pocket?? If your answer is no, or that you would not be able to afford it, then stop griping for what your taxes and your hard work go toward. With the current economic crisis, some of us are not out of work by choice. Some of us, just like dear "auntie" are in the situation that we are in due to illness, layoff, and yes even some due to fiscal irresponsibility. Will some people who do not really need this service take advantage. Of course they will. Is everyone that has the service taking advantage? Absolutely not!! It used to be, that if someone in a community's house burned down, folks in town would rally around that family and build them a new house without thinking twice about it. Was that socialism??? NO that WAS CALLED COMMUNITY. It was the AMERICAN WAY. Now, instead of rebuilding, we just want to add fuel to the fire. It is truely sad that we as Americans have become so insensitive to the needs of our fellow patriots that currently are in need. If you plant a peach seed, you get a peach tree which in turn gives you peaches. If you sow the seeds of miserliness and judgement, then that is exactly what will come back to you. So the next time that you feel the need to judge someone using their FOOD stamp card in the line in the supermarket. Be thankfuld that your not in the same situation today and veryaware that noe of knows what tomorrow will bring...

Consider this

I bear no malice toward someone who is poor or down on their luck and using food stamps in line in front of me. I bear GREAT malice toward those who use the food stamps (or vounchers, or WIC coupons), then reach into their wallet to use cash to pay for their cigrettes, candy, and beer while they yak on the cell phone, then go get into their car. Your Barney-like view discounts the fact that half of this country is comprised of inept, lazy slugs riding for free on the labors of others.


All I am saying is that people should not judge everyone based on their preconceptions, however valid they might be. Not everyone in need is a freeloader.


Why don't YOU pay for the "FREE" phone for YOUR Aunt out of YOUR pocket and not out of mine(the tax payer). She gets what she needs and nobody gets upset. Unless YOU think I should be forced financially to be responsible for all of YOUR Aunts needs ontop of my own family's needs. I am responsible for my families needs and I help out others quite often when I am able too. I enjoy helping people but, I resent my hard earned money(taxes) going to provide "FREE" phones to people who have family that can add another phone to their own plan. As for the homeless there is a reasaon why they are homeless and it is because of the choices(good, bad, or indeferent) that they have made in there own lives. I am responsible for the choices I've made in my life and I should not be bailed out by your tax money. So, they should be responsible for their own lives. There is a difference between a HAND UP and a HAND OUT. "FREE" is not a gift that keeps on giving, "FREE" is something someone has to pay for.


ANY charged cell phone will call 911. If you can't afford to have a cell phone plan, you can get an old cell phone and carry it around in case of emergency. Calling someone to let your dogs out is not an emergency, like someone else said... Go use a landline inside the doctor's office.


if the intent is to address the needs of the homeless, disabled, and elderly to call out for help when the need arises, why does it include Voice Mail? Why does the recipient automatically get extra free minutes monthly if the intent is to address that infrequent emergency? Another Obama freebie intended to take from the working class and reward the non-working entitlement takers. Takers -- what happens when those of us who work get tired of supporting your existence and we stop working>

We ALL need to quit our jobs! ! ! !

Let's face it we'd be better off just living off the government wouldn't we? Let's see you get FREE housing, FREE food, FREE healthcare and now FREE cell phones. What's next here are we going to start giving away FREE cable? I work in a clinic and I see this daily! No jobs but they sure have nice nails and nice hair do's and I can't afford any of that mess but I work my butt off!!! It's only going to get worse just sit back and see.....