In the realm of no-contract cell phones, there’s a lot to watch out for: Hidden charges, activation fees and other deceptively pricey pitfalls are everywhere. But it seems there is, in fact, a genuinely free (and catch-less) option for New Yorkers in need of mobiles. It’s called Assurance Wireless, and it’s a Virgin Mobile program that came to the state late last year to bring free phones and service to low-income individuals. We’re not talking smart phones, or even a single bell or whistle, really—just good-old, talk-and-hang-up (or leave a voice mail) kind of stuff. But qualifying for the bare-bones phones looks pretty simple.
Vos Iz Neias, Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish news service, reports that the program is now available through NY Assemblyman Dov Hikind‘s office in Boro Park. Because the phones are meant for the truly low-in-income, you have to be enjoying some government aid already—food stamps, Medicaid, Social Security Income, Section 8 housing and a couple others will do the trick. Or you can be living at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty level: $14,621/yr. for a single person, $19,670/yr for a couple. You will need proper proof of income, of course, and the Vos Iz Neias article lists the acceptable options.
What do you get exactly? The entirely free, basic package includes a Kyocera Jax phone, 200 domestic minutes each month, voicemail, call waiting, caller ID and 911 access. You can pay for extras, like texts, international calls and additional minutes, but then, of course, the bills will commence.
Yes, this is a pretty bare-bones service, but it’s also pretty free. For more info, check out Assurance’s site, or call Dov Hikind’s office at 718-853-9616.
via Vos Iz Neias