Phone service has become our primary need. It is very important. And in fact, it can be dangerous if we are unable to have access to it. However, many Americans can’t afford the phone services. Besides connecting people with others, it also helps to connect with vital services, including doctors and other emergency assistance. Noticing this problem, the government creates a Lifeline program.
This program helps the eligible American to have phone service at no cost. The lifeline program is available in 50 states in America. Like most states, Florida provides a Lifeline program to its citizen. Besides the low-income people, one of the beneficiaries of this program is the seniors. But not all phones are suitable for senior’s need. In this article, we have some recommendations of the 5 best free phones for seniors in Florida.
First of all, let’s talk about who is considered as the seniors? Why do they have a chance to get a lifeline program? Seniors can be defined in many ways, different to each people. Generally, this term refers to someone who is at least 60 or 65 years of age. It is usually defined as an elder or a retired person. In other words, seniors are elderly persons more than 60 or 65 years of age. Seniors are usually someone dependent on others to function daily. But most of the seniors live alone by themselves and only less than 5% of seniors live in a nursing home. That is why they have to always have a connection with others, in case of any emergency.
Seniors have a high risk of needing help for medical emergencies. Data shows that 50% of seniors battle at least two chronic conditions. Free phone service for seniors can be an absolute lifesaver because it can lower the risk of seniors unable to reach someone to ask for help. Not only for emergency issues, but it also helps with mental health issues. Seniors need to have a social network as their form of support system. Especially for seniors who live alone, having someone to talk to can help them to stay healthy. Living alone is not always their option; some of them have to live apart from their family members. So it’s also beneficial for maintaining a good relationship with distant family.
How do get a free phone for seniors in Florida?
If you are wondering how to get free phones for seniors in Florida, here are the answers. If it’s for you, you have to ensure first that you are a senior and live in Florida. Then, you can try applying to get a lifeline program. You are considered as eligible seniors once you meet the criteria. The major criteria are:
Your annual income should be below the federal poverty level.
It has to be lower or at the level of 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines in Florida. You can check the Federal Poverty Guidelines of Florida here.
- You should be an active member of any government aid program.
You are if have participated in the below government assistance programs:
- Veterans Pension and Survivor’s Benefit
- Medicaid (don’t confuse it with Medicare. Read about how to get phones for seniors in Medicare)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Section 8/Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance (BIA)
- Food Stamps/ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Tribal Head Start (only for the household that meets the income qualifying standards)
- Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
How to apply for free phones in Florida?
Now that you know the criteria to apply for the Lifeline Program, there’s only one question that remains. How to get a free phone? There are 3 simple steps to apply for the free phone program. Follow the steps and you are ready to get your free phone. In case you’re looking for free phones for seniors in California, read here.
Choose a provider
Before choosing a provider to enroll in the program, do some research first. Ensure that the telephone company provides your wishes and needs. Check which one provides free phone and the phone service plan you need. 3 telephone companies provide free phones in Florida. They are Access Wireless, Assurance Wireless, and Safelink Wireless. For Access Wireless, they offer up to 1000 monthly minute plans and up to 4.5 GB of data. The Assurance Wireless offers unlimited texts with free 350 minutes voice calls, and 3 GB of data. The voice call includes all the emergency calls. Safelink Wireless offers 350 free monthly minute plans, unlimited texts, and 3 GB of data.
Fill and submit the application
After choosing the telephone company, you need to fill out the application form. All companies will ask about your personal info, including your household details. Please provide accurate data since any mistakes can lead to them declining your application. You can get the application form on the websites of your chosen telephone company. You can also call the customer service of the Lifeline program in Florida. Then, they will send you the application form by mail or fax. After completing the application form, you can send it back via email, uploading it to their websites, or by mail to the telephone company address.
Enroll the program
The approval stage might take quite a time because they have to check all the criteria to determine your eligibility. If there is no extra document needed, you will get approval immediately. It usually takes up to 3 weeks to get your free phone. Although it takes time to process, you will get the benefits for a whole year and more.
What Free Phone Features that Seniors Need?
Nowadays, phone feature has developed to fulfill many needs of people. Thanks to technology, it helps us to relieve some of our burdens. There is always a solution that technologies provide in everything that we need. For seniors, they have special features. Below are some of the features that seniors need on their free phones:
- Loud Speaker: It may help some seniors with hard of hearing disabilities.
- Large Screen or Keypad: Very helpful for seniors with low-vision disabilities.
- Simple Display: The fewer icon or buttons are the best.
- Long Term batteries: Seniors tend to easily forget to charge their phone regularly. So a phone with a long-term battery can be a solution.
- Phone Tracking Features: It can help family or relatives to keep the track of a senior’s location.
5 Best Free Phones for seniors in Florida
Here are some recommendations of our 5 best free phones for senior residents of Florida.
Greatcall Jitterbug Smart Easy-To-Use 5.5” Smartphone
Greatcall Jitterbug Smart is one of the best free phones. Comes with a large screen, it is perfect for typing. The large screen also makes the text on the screen easier to read. This phone is senior-friendly, it is easy to navigate the menu. With the voice to text feature, email and texting are faster. One great feature of this phone is its hearing aid compatibility. So it is comfortable to use for seniors who have a hearing aid.
This phone is suitable for seniors who are not comfortable with complex features. Comes with a large display button, it’s easier to press the right number. The large display button can ensure seniors with low-vision can see everything onscreen. This phone has a 5.5” inch screen which is enough for seniors. This phone also comes with a full training book to help seniors learn how to use smartphones. It is hearing-aid compatible so it is suitable for seniors with hard of hearing.
Doro phones have a long-running reputation as one of the best phones designed for seniors. It has an elegant look and a 5.7” inch screen. This phone has an assistance button on the back of the phone. In case of emergency, press the button and it will contact your designated family/friends. It will also automatically tag your GPS location. In other words, it is can be a lifesaver. This phone comes with an audio boost and also hearing aid compatibility.
Motorola Moto G Stylus
Motorola Moto G Stylus is one of the smartphones suitable for seniors in Florida. It is equipped with a water resistance feature, which means it has good durability. This phone is the loudest phone on our list. It comes with sound quality that peaks around 88dB, making it possible for hard-of-hearing seniors to notice. It also ensures that seniors will never miss a call. The 6.4” tall screen is also helpful for seniors with low-vision. If seniors want to capture the best memories with their loved ones, this phone’s 48MP camera is the answer. It captures sharp family photos and videos.
Samsung Galaxy S5
Although it is categorized as a high-tech phone, Samsung Galaxy S5 comes with an “easy” mode. It allows seniors to have a larger text and fewer icons. This phone also comes with gorilla glass, so it is quite safe if you accidentally drop it. Not to mention that this phone is also water-resistant and dustproof. It also comes with a phone tracking system. So it keeps family and relatives stay connected with the seniors. There are also high-tech features that come with it, which is a heart rate monitor. It can monitor your health digitally.
As our primary need, the existence of a phone service is very crucial. Since not all Americans can afford a phone, the government creates a lifeline program to help them. This program helps seniors to have a free phone and its services at no cost. But not all free phones are suitable for senior’s needs. Choose one of our recommendations for free phones for seniors in Florida.
The first is Greatcall Jitterbug Smart with its many great features. It comes with a large screen, hearing aid compatibility, and voice to text feature. The second is Emporiasmart.3S which comes with an elegant design and large button, which can increase the accuracy of the button pressing. Then there is Doro 8080. It comes with an emergency button on the back. It immediately calls relatives and tags your location when needed.
Next is Motorola Moto G Stylus, with its loudspeaker. The speaker’s sound is up to 88dB which helps seniors with loss of hearing. The last is Samsung Galaxy S5. Its “easy” mode allows seniors to have fewer icons and larger text on display.