Phones aren’t just there for chatting with friends, many times the ability to access emergency services through a phone is a matter of life or death. Fortunately, there are a few ways you can ensure you have phone access even if paying for a monthly service isn’t something you can do right now.
Emergency 911 Service
According to rules by the FCC, it’s required that all traditional phones be able to call 911 emergency services. This is the case regardless of whether you are currently paying for service on the phone or not. This means that if you have a cellphone that doesn’t have service on it, you should be able to call 911 on it anyway.
It also means that if you don’t have a cellphone, you can buy an analog phone for around $5 at a yard sale for use during emergencies. The operator will also often offer to connect a call to a different number for a few dollars per minute through a credit card charge if you really need it during a non-emergency.
There are also some charities at churches and other organizations that sometimes give away free older phones.
If you need more regular phone service in order to do things like find a job, there’s a government program out there called Lifeline that lets you do just that. In many cases they will actually give you a free cell phone as well.
In order to qualify, you have to have an income that’s no more than 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. But if you do qualify, the program can potentially set you up with a third party service for free minutes per month, free text messages per month, and even free data per month depending on the program.
Since 1985 when the program started, the percentage of households in low-income areas that have phone service has gone from 80% to 92% though, so you can be sure that chances are good that you’ll get in if you fall in the income range.
If you want to sign up, all you have to do is visit the Life Line Support website which will give you a list of companies to contact for getting discounted or free service.
Going with one of these programs can be an effective way to get back on your feet again since many jobs won’t hire you unless you can list a phone number where they can contact you.
For more information, consider contacting a local phone service, like Dalton Utilities. They may be able to tell you more about these services, or discuss any available deals or payment plans that can help you have the phone access that you need.