A welfare phone is a reduced-rate landline or cellular phone provided to welfare recipients, elderly people and Native Americans. Members of these groups must meet income requirements to receive a discount on telephone service; these requirements and the discount amounts vary depending on the group a recipient falls into.
Two welfare telephone programs are available on the federal level: Link-Up and Lifeline. Link-Up defrays the cost of telephone line installation, while Lifeline provides a discount on monthly telephone charges. These programs are traditionally associated with landline telephone service, but they are being expanded to include cellular service on a state-by-state basis.