What Is the Medicare Cell Phone Program?

The Medicare cellphone program is a program where Medicare beneficiaries get free cellphones. Those who receive cellphones are often older people with who have low incomes that are below 135 percent of the federal poverty level or receive certain benefits.

The cellphones come with 250 minutes of talk time and text credit per month. Senior U.S. citizens considered poor may qualify for this program. Normally, these citizens also receive help with housing, energy, food and medication. Some have no income left after meeting basic necessities. Recipients need to confirm eligibility each year to continue in the program.

The cellphone is meant for emergency communications, and it is a safety gadget. However, as with any phone, cellphone users can call 911 even after exhausting their minutes. The cellphones are simple and do not contain luxury features. They also enable the elderly to communicate with their loved ones.

Assurance Wireless, Lifeline Assistance Program, Virgin Mobile, the Federal Universal Service Fund and FCC distribute the free cellphones. Each family can only have one phone, although they can get additional minutes and pay for the revised plans. People with disabilities in special cases also qualify for this program. A person has to apply and show proof of qualification to get into this program.