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How to Get the Government to Cover Your Cell Phone Bill

Yo'Adrienne..AFCL 2012/04/12 22:54:25
ORIGINALLY, THIS MADE 911 CALLS ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE...LOT OF PEOPLE CALLING FO HELP!
NO ACCOUNTABILITY..WOMAN HAS 30 PHONES, AND LAUGHS..! ISTHIS FAIR?
2011:  1.6 BILLION DOLLARS FOR THEIR PHONES AND MINUTES.
UNIVERSAL SERVICE FEE.....THAT'S WHY YOUR BILLS ARE SO HIGH!
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Last year, a federal program paid out $1.6 billion to cover free cell phones and the monthly bills of 12.5 million wireless accounts. The program, overseen by the FCC and intended to help low-income Americans, is popular for obvious reasons, with participation rising steeply since 2008, when the government paid $772 million for phones and monthly bills. But observers complain that the program suffers from poor oversight, in which phones go to people who don’t qualify, and hundreds of thousands of those who do qualify have more than one phone.


Last summer, a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review story shed some light on a government program that relatively few Americans knew existed. (Read more about it here.) The Lifeline program provides low-income Americans with free cell phones (basic ones such as those made by Tracfone, not smartphones) and covers up to 250 free minutes each month. As many as 5.5 million residents in Pennsylvania alone could qualify for the program, which is funded primarily by the Universal Service Fund fee added to the bills of land-line and wireless customers.


The program came to be after the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was passed, and the FCC created the Universal Service Fund to help “to promote the availability of quality services at just, reasonable, and affordable rates,” among other things. All telecommunications carriers must pay into the fund, and many do so by tacking on a fee to each of their customers’ bills. It’s probably added into your monthly wireless bill and your landline bill, if you still have one.



The Universal Service Fund provides discounts on phone services, or in some cases, entirely free services to low-income Americans. The fund helps pay for landlines or cell phones, whichever the recipient prefers. There’s also a one-time discount of up to $30 to cover an installation fee or a cell phone. Considering how cheap some cell phones are nowadays, the money more than covers the costs of a basic phone. Then, the fund covers phone bills to the tune of $10 a month, which typically translates as 250 minutes for wireless plans of the types of phones we’re talking about. Americans who receive food stamps, Medicaid, or other federal aid, or who earn up to 135% of the federal poverty guidelines, qualify for the program.


Now, Bloomberg Businessweek reports, we have a pretty good idea of how much the program pays out—and how quickly it’s growing as more and more people find out about it. In 2011, Lifeline paid out $1.6 billion, more than double the amount paid in 2008 ($772 million).



Read more: http://moneyland.time.com/2012/02/08/how-to-get-the-governmen...


Read more: http://moneyland.time.com/2012/02/08/how-to-get-the-governmen...
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Top Opinion

  • Civic Minded 2012/04/12 23:51:49
    UNIVERSAL SERVICE FEE.....THAT'S WHY YOUR BILLS ARE SO HIGH!
    Civic Minded
    +3
    I knew about this and find it dispicable that the taxpayers are having trouble affording their own cell phone plans and yet it has become a right for low income people! Look at who has more disposable income, the average taxpaying family or those who rely upon government benefits:

    http://www.gardenstatejournal...
    "The 2012 Index of Dependence on Government said those who relied on government aid got an average $32,748 in benefits, slightly more than the average American's disposable income, or income after taxes, of $32,446, the conservative think tank said in a release."

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  • grandpa6 2012/04/13 19:57:20
    UNIVERSAL SERVICE FEE.....THAT'S WHY YOUR BILLS ARE SO HIGH!
    grandpa6
    +2
    Universal service fee better known at the time as the (AL)Gore tax. another leftist moron helping to screw the American public. Anything the government runs will definitely be a disastrous failure.
  • Yo'Adri... grandpa6 2012/04/15 00:33:10
    Yo'Adrienne..AFCL
    You are so right....Grandpa......You rock.!
  • ☆ QueenAline 2012/04/13 18:59:26
    UNIVERSAL SERVICE FEE.....THAT'S WHY YOUR BILLS ARE SO HIGH!
    ☆ QueenAline
    yeah, well international calls ain't cheap..no wonder my bill is so high..paying for these ingrates to make FREE calls !
  • CUDDLY BUT STILL CRABBY 2012/04/13 05:29:28
    UNIVERSAL SERVICE FEE.....THAT'S WHY YOUR BILLS ARE SO HIGH!
    CUDDLY BUT STILL CRABBY
    +2
    This crap has got to stop. NOW!
  • Yo'Adri... CUDDLY ... 2012/04/15 00:34:58
    Yo'Adrienne..AFCL
    YOu have to write emails.....and make them aware that we KNOW what is going on...Your senator, or the FCC, or your phone carrier is a good start. If you've never written a letter before....today is a good day to start.!
  • Hula girl - Friends not Fol... 2012/04/13 04:05:42
    UNIVERSAL SERVICE FEE.....THAT'S WHY YOUR BILLS ARE SO HIGH!
    Hula girl - Friends not Followers
    +2
    There is no way I need 250 calls a month especially if I'm on welfare. I have a phone that I've only used 580 for the whole year.

    Government loves to waste our money. I stopped my cell service and do the pay as you do just for this very reason of being tired of paying for all those extra fees when I didn't use my phone that much.
  • Yo'Adri... Hula gi... 2012/04/15 00:36:36 (edited)
    Yo'Adrienne..AFCL
    +1
    "There's more where that came from" they think they are "entitled".......Take from the rich( or the people working and making a stab at a good life....and give it to the lazy stupid people who feel entitled.!) DISGUSTING.
  • Gracie - Proud Conservative 2012/04/13 00:40:28
    UNIVERSAL SERVICE FEE.....THAT'S WHY YOUR BILLS ARE SO HIGH!
    Gracie - Proud Conservative
    +2
    Well, I delivered two today and over the past few years I have probably delivered hundreds of them. We're on to the way they get multiple phones. What they do is use different addresses by sending them to neighbors houses, transposed numbers (and you're supposed to figure that they just made an innocent mistake) and vacant houses.

    In my office we don't deliver them unless they are properly addressed and no exceptions. Sometimes when people are gathered around the boxes at apartments I'll make statements about how some people think their carrier is stupid or something. I tell them that I am not allowed to deliver them to an improper address, which of course is not necessarily true but it should be.
  • Civic Minded 2012/04/12 23:51:49
    UNIVERSAL SERVICE FEE.....THAT'S WHY YOUR BILLS ARE SO HIGH!
    Civic Minded
    +3
    I knew about this and find it dispicable that the taxpayers are having trouble affording their own cell phone plans and yet it has become a right for low income people! Look at who has more disposable income, the average taxpaying family or those who rely upon government benefits:

    http://www.gardenstatejournal...
    "The 2012 Index of Dependence on Government said those who relied on government aid got an average $32,748 in benefits, slightly more than the average American's disposable income, or income after taxes, of $32,446, the conservative think tank said in a release."
  • S and S 2012/04/12 23:04:50
  • Yo'Adri... S and S 2012/04/15 00:38:42
    Yo'Adrienne..AFCL
    That was a program that makes my skin crawl even today.... beyond insanity.....
    and the entire government system is run with the same mentality.
    OBAMA must go!

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