HERE 2 HELP: Low-cost internet and cell phone services available to those who lost their jobs due to COVID-19

HOUSTON – During these trying times, having access to an internet connection and phone service is essential to stay connected. However, many Americans who were recently laid off due to COVID-19 are facing financial hardships and can’t afford such services.

To help those affected, the Federal Communications Commission has made it easier to apply to its Lifeline initiative — a federal program that has been helping low-income citizens have access to discounted phone and internet services since 1985.

“Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, and it is important that they have the connectivity they need to apply for new jobs, take online classes, or get medical care via telehealth," FCC’s chairman Ajit Pai said in a press release.

The program, which is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company, gives eligible applicants up to $9.25 monthly toward their phone or internet bill from one of its participating company’s.

Citizens can enroll if they meet one of the following requirements:

  • Have an income of 135% or less than the federal poverty guidelines
  • Participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit or Tribal Programs (and live on federally-recognized Tribal lands)
  • Have a child or dependant enrolled in one of the federal assistance programs mentioned above

Once a person is enrolled, they can choose a phone or internet company that offers Lifeline relief in their area.

To apply for Lifeline, click here. Applications will be accepted through June 30.

For more information about the program call 1 (800) 234-9473.

Low-cost pre-paid carriers

If you do not qualify for the program we have compiled a list of low-cost pre-paid carriers:

  • Mint Mobile: 3-month plans start at $45. Phones start at $59.
  • Gen-Mobile: 1-month plans start at $10. Pre-owned phones start at $19.
  • Tello: Plans start at $10 per month. Refurbished phones start at $35.
  • FreeUP Mobile: Plans start at $15 per month. Phones start at $59.
  • Twigby: Plans start at $20 per month. Phones start at $41.
  • Hello Mobile: Plans start at $5 per month.

Most of the carriers are offering discounts due to COVID-19.

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