C Spire Lifeline Credit
C Spire Wireless offers Lifeline assistance in a form of an account
To be honest, prior to researching Lifeine free cell phone
service providers, I hadn't even heard of this company! The
classic Lifeline assistance programs
offer a certain number of free monthly voice minutes, and usually text
messaging as well. There is another flavor of this type of
program, however, that does not offer free minutes, but rather offers a
monthly discount on some or all of their core prepaid wireless plans.
Cricket Communications was the first of this type of program,
which they logically dubbed the Cricket Lifeline Credit.
However, Cricket discontinued that program when it was
acquired by AT&T.
The credit offered by C Spire is up to $9.25 per month. That
amount hasn't changed since I first discovered this carrier in 2012.
That's not to say that the value of the credit won't
increase, however, it's certainly not something that changes
frequently. My understanding is that the credit
value is defined by the Federally sponsored Lifeline organization.
Lastly, note that the credit is only available on their
postpaid calling plans. They explicitly state on their
website that the credit is not available for their pay as you go plans.
If they're going to give you a monthly credit, they want to
ensure that you're committing to a monthly plan.
Do You Want A Credit Vs. Free Service?
I think that the first thing to ask yourself is whether you want a
credit on a plan that ranges from $30 to over a $100 per month, or if
prefer to truly have Free
Cell Phone Service
from bigger names like Assurance/Access
and SafeLink Wireless? From my perspective, it's a very
different type of person who participates in a completely free program,
which also allows you to add money if you need more minutes or more
features. People who are getting a credit obviously must be
able to afford some degree of minimum monthly payment.
Often the features between the two types of programs are very similar,
though a credit type program may offer you far more flexibility in
terms of what plans you can use, as well as what phones you can get.
The free programs tend to have very basic, and often
described as low quality phones, with limited (and confusing) options
for upgrading to a better phone. That said, if you're truly a
low income household in need of wireless service, such options may not
be top of mind.
How Do I Qualify For C Spire Lifeline Assistance?
They service Mississippi and Alabama only, and
you must already be participating in one of the following programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Medicaid/Magnolia Health Plan/Medicare Part B (No Medicare)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Programs (LIHEAP)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- National School Lunch Program
- Income at or below 135% of the Federally Recognized Poverty
Also, note that if you're a Native American living on a reservation or
designated tribal lands, you can get significantly greater
How Do I Apply?
Even after all these years, the only way to apply is to
their online PDF application form and follow the instructions.
They don't advertise an 800 number, and there's no sign of an
online application process. I suspect that should their
program grow sufficiently large, they will seek additional ways to
apply. That said, it's been many years with no apparent move
to automation. It's probably not profitable for this small
provider to invest in anything but a manual process at this point.
You can find their website
(and application forms) at C Spire Lifeline Assistance