Eligibility varies by state. Here's a list of some of the state programs that may be eligible in participating states. If one of these catch your eye, you'll want to check out the particular requirements in your state. In the section below you'll find a list of states where they've rolled out this credit program. Each link will take you over to the Cricket Communications website for that particular state where you can review the details, and decide whether oyou want to apply if you feel that you meet the requirements.
There are also Income Based eligibility for certain states. For example, the following are those for California:
The key here is that you must already be a Cricket Wireless customer, meaning that you can’t apply to the program without first having a Cricket account. Once you have an account, you can apply for the Cricket Lifeline Credit by visiting a Cricket Retail Store or a Premier Dealer. The application is available in-store or can be downloaded online. During the application process you need to provide documentation that proves you’re participating in one of the eligibility programs, as well as show a government issued photo ID.
You should see the credit within 30-60 days after filing your application (assuming that you ultimately qualify). So if you’re a brand new customer, you can expect to have to pay at least one month of service at the regular price before you see the credit show up on your account in the second and subsequent months. Note that you may be asked to validate that you’re still eligible for the Cricket Lifeline Credit each year. This is particulary true lately given that the government is cracking down on customers fraudulently applying and yet still getting approved. The requalification requirement is a governement mandate, and not a Cricket requirement per se.
Unfortunately Cricket’s Prepaid Wireless Internet service is not currently eligible for the Cricket Lifeline Credit program. As noted above, only their core wireless program is included. Why you might ask? The Lifeline assistance program is a government subsidized program that is only for voice service. At least at this point in time, it's not as easy to argue that mobile broadband is an essential tool compared to keeping in touch with loved ones, keeping safe, calling 911 for emergencies, etc. That said, there's been a lot of talk amongst the industry and governement representatives that broadband will be included at some point. However, as Cricket is no longer focussing on broadband, I doubt that they would do the work to include it in the Cricket Lifeline Credit program when it does get government approval.
There really isn’t a catch at all! So long as you’re eligible for the Cricket Lifeline Credit, it should be smooth sailing. The only restriction is that you can only apply for one phone per household. Also, unlike the other programs, you won’t get a free phone, though you do get to buy the phone of your choice, which has some major advantages. In fact, people using other Lifeline programs have complained about the very poor quality free phone they receive, and spend a lot of energy trying to figure out how to get a more user friendly phone working on the free service.
The Cricket Lifeline Credit is a great deal for people who are eligible, however, for some reason, it just doesn’t seem as compelling as the other Free Cell Phone Services available. This program lets you get a discount on a fixed monthly plan. Even the least expensive plan will require that you pay money each month. On the other hand, with Assurance Wireless and SafeLink, you get truly free service each month (including a phone), and if you need more minutes than what’s included, you can always add more money. The point being that you don’t HAVE to spend any money each month if you don’t want to or can’t afford to.
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