Tag Mobile Lifeline Assistance Program
The Tag Mobile Lifeline Assistance Program is another one of a number
of prepaid wireless carriers that participates in this
government-funded free cell phone service. Unlike some of the
other larger carriers, Tag is a lesser known MVNO (Mobile Virtual
Network Operator) that uses both the Verizon and Sprint networks.
You don't need to be a current Tag Mobile customer to apply
for their Lifeline program.
It's great to see more carriers offering access to free phones and
service for income eligible families, however, given that the program
details are essentially government defined, it begs the question, how
many providers are needed? I expect that the more carriers
that participate, the greater level of operational support that needs
provided by the government to certify and continually manage paperwork
around compliance. So long as eligible customers nationwide
have access to programs in their area, does there really need to be
competition? To be honest, I don't understand the value of
having so many providers. Regardless, Tag is another such
provider, so let's take a look at their program.
I was initially very much dissatisfied with the
level of detail that is provided regarding the Tag Mobile Lifeline
Assistance Program. However, things have improved, and they
now have program details listed on their site (which was previously
The included features and phone type (ex. smartphone vs. feature phone)
varies by state, but are now clearly listed on their site, and is
searchable by zip code.
Eligibility is pretty straightforward, as it mirrors all
Lifeline programs. In the FAQ section of their website, Tag
Mobile defines eligibility as any household who is currently
participating in any of the following government programs:
What Services Are Included?
- Food Stamps
- NSL - National School Free Lunch Program
- FPHA - Section 8 Federal Public Housing Assistance
- SSI - Supplemental Security Income
- TANF - Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Income at or below 135% of federal poverty level
Can I Use A Better Phone?
- Caller ID
- Call Waiting
- A fixed number of voice minutes, or unlimited depending on
- Unlimited text messaging.
- Unlimited data for those that are eligible for a smartphone.
They offer a number of alternative smartphones that you can
purchase on their site, which they tag with "Lifeline Upgrade".
What If I Need More Minutes/Texts?
A feature that I like, and that most Lifeline providers
offer, is the ability to pay for additional services as needed.
With the Tag Mobile Lifeline Assistance Program, you have the
following top-up options:
- $7 - Minutes (30 day expiration)
- $20 - 500 Minutes (30 day expiration)
- $30 - 1,000 Minutes (30 day expiration)
Note that it's common practice to extend the entire account balance by
the number of days of expiration attached to any new money that you're
adding. So if you have $5 remaining on day 29, and add
another $20, you should now have $25 that's good for another 30 days.
However, if you don't add money within the 30 day period,
adding money on day 31 would result in your having only $20 (in this
example), as the previous $5 balance would have expired and removed
from your account. To avoid losing money, be sure to keep
track of your balance expiration date!
How Do I Apply?
Fortunately, this is where Tag does a good job on their
website. They used to have an online application form that
accessible directly from their homepage; unfortunately, that has been
removed for some reason. I chatted with their online support,
however, they were completely useless. They do have
a Tag Mobile Lifeline Recertification
option on their website, and there are also fax, snail mail,
and automated phone options options available, so you're definitely
To learn more about these types of programs, visit the Lifeline
Free Cell Phone Service
section, or visit Lifeline
to see a list of other carriers offering Lifeline
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