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Low-income Missouri residents can get free cell service

Friday, March 22, 2013 | 6:42 a.m. CDT; updated 10:38 a.m. CDT, Friday, March 22, 2013

JEFFERSON CITY — A mobile carrier is offering free cellphones and wireless service to low-income Missouri residents.

Assurance Wireless, an arm of Sprint, is offering 250 free voice minutes and 250 free text messages to eligible residents.

The company said 900,000 Missouri residents might be eligible if they meet income guidelines.

A family of four would need an income of no more than $31,793. Residents also can qualify if they're on certain public assistance programs, such as Medicaid, food stamps or government-subsidized school meals.

Assurance Wireless will receive reimbursement from the Federal Communication Commission's Lifeline program to cover the cost of services.

The Missouri Public Service Commission recently approved the program. Assurance Wireless offers a similar service in 39 other states.


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Comments

Jimmy Bearfield March 22, 2013 | 10:56 a.m.

Uncle Sugar will provide for all our needs and wants, and it won't cost a dime because only "the rich" will pay.

(Report Comment)
frank christian March 22, 2013 | 1:32 p.m.

"A family of four would need an income of no more than $31,793. Residents also can qualify if they're on certain public assistance programs, such as Medicaid, food stamps or government-subsidized school meals." I bet watching selection thru these guidelines could cause physical illness.

Obama won because Republicans don't know how to reach out to our disadvantaged? Yeah, Right!!

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith March 22, 2013 | 2:00 p.m.

Dare I suggest there's a larger problem? All indications are that, despite such assistance programs, the "poor" are as a group falling more and more behind the technological curve.

I seriously doubt that the most confiscatory taxation of the "rich" will cure that problem, simply because any real solution cannot rest on transfer of money alone.

As for the phones, let's see what use they're put to. I would point out that the combination of "idiot+phone" isn't necesarily confined to any single economic group. :)

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield March 22, 2013 | 2:05 p.m.

"All indications are that, despite such assistance programs, the 'poor' are as a group falling more and more behind the technological curve."

Hardly. I know one family of three that gets lots of handouts, such as deeply subsidized day care, yet both parents can afford smartphones and the service that comes with them. I also know a single mom who gets TANF, Medicaid, etc., and part of her cash assistance goes to pay for a smartphone.

It seems silly for me to keep working. I might as well go on the dole, too.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz March 22, 2013 | 2:23 p.m.

But but but, I heard several of the liberal persuasion say a few weeks ago that no such program existed and it was just a lie to smear Obama (even though it was in existence prior to his administration)?

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield March 22, 2013 | 3:08 p.m.

John, those libs must not have voted for Claire McCaskill. Otherwise, they'd know that she launched an investigation into Lifeline after she received an invitation to apply for a taxpayer-subsidized phone.

(Report Comment)
Tim Dance March 22, 2013 | 5:52 p.m.

I saw this on a KOMU Facebook post,

Reagan started the Lifeline program back in 1984. Federal tax dollars are NOT (I repeat, NOT) used to fund this program. It is funded by a fee that is taken from the telecommunication companies themselves called the Universal Service Fund (USF). The government DOES NOT give the phones away for FREE. Let me repeat... IT... DOES....NOT. It only subsidizes the airtime using the USF. Cell companies make their own decision to supply the phone, not the government. Thank you, KOMU for posting yet another half-hearted piece of journalism.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams March 22, 2013 | 6:18 p.m.

"Federal tax dollars are NOT (I repeat, NOT) used to fund this program."

and

It only subsidizes the airtime using the USF.
_____________________

To me, "subsidy" usually means tax dollars. I don't understand. Clarify?

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle March 22, 2013 | 6:33 p.m.

Jimmy: Please do. Wear those shoes for awhile. Then, come back and tell us what a wonderful utopia it is.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield March 22, 2013 | 7:46 p.m.

Derrick, it can't be that bad, or else there wouldn't be so many people choosing that lifestyle. Case in point: Families where every generation since the War on Poverty began has been on the dole. It's pathetic when a 30-year-old is a grandmother and feels no shame in admitting that fact.

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle March 22, 2013 | 7:54 p.m.

You'll never really know until you try.

(Report Comment)
frank christian March 22, 2013 | 10:58 p.m.

Jimmy B. - "Wear those shoes for awhile." "You'll never really know until you try."

How could one be expected to win in debate, against such spot on replies such as these?

(Report Comment)

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