The Buckeye State is a Lifeline-supported state, which means residents can get free government cell phone service and Internet access. To qualify for Lifeline, a household must participate in one of the following programs or have a total income below the federal poverty level.
Ohio’s ten best Lifeline providers offer many plans and features. To choose the provider that’s right for your needs, here are some things to keep in mind:
How to Get a Replacement Phone
Over 1.5 million Ohioans rely on the Lifeline Assistance program for phone service. This government-funded service provides a discount, accessible device, or credit toward phone and internet services for low-income families, the disabled, or senior citizens. The main objective of this program is to ensure these individuals have access to communications while they work to improve their income and overcome financial difficulties.
If your Lifeline phone is lost or stolen, you should immediately report the incident to your provider. Depending on your provider’s policy, they can offer you a replacement device directly, or you may have to wait a few days before a new device arrives. In either case, stay calm and double-check any pockets or bags where you might have left your phone before assuming it’s gone for good.
Installing essential apps and updating your contact list before your new device arrives is also good. Once you have your replacement phone, use it responsibly and always keep it secure. A phone is crucial for many; losing it could have severe consequences for them and their family. Therefore, it’s best to practice safe cell phone use and consider installing a phone case or keeping your phone in a designated spot where it will be difficult to get lost or stolen.
What to Do if Your Phone Is Lost or Stolen
Your smartphone contains personal information, passwords, and access to sensitive apps, photos, and more. If your phone is lost or stolen, you’ll want to take immediate steps to protect yourself:
- Report your phone missing to the local police and make a note of the crime reference number.
- Request that your missing device’s cellular service be suspended or disconnected by calling your carrier; doing so will help keep it out of the hands of unauthorized users. You may also be able to do this by logging into your operating system’s “Find My” service or user account.
- Change your cloud passwords as soon as possible to prevent thieves from accessing your data.
What to Do if Your Phone Is Broken or Damaged
If you’ve found yourself in a position where your phone is broken or damaged, there are a few things that you should do. First, you should assess the damage and determine if it’s repairable. You’ll also want to ensure that you back up any data you can, as this could be lost if your device is damaged or breaks down completely.
Once you’ve done that, it’s time to decide your next move. You must find a replacement if the device is entirely broken or the screen is cracked. The good news is that many options are available when buying a new phone, including phones sold by Ohio lifeline providers and smartphones from major carriers.
Another option is to look into discounts and benefits available to residents through the federal Lifeline program and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). These programs can lower the price of your phone and Internet service if you qualify.
To be eligible for Lifeline and the ACP, you must participate in specific government assistance programs or have a total household income below 135% of the poverty guidelines for your state.
How to Contact Customer Support
Many residents who need help paying their phone bills or getting a free home telephone service can find financial assistance and other benefits through the federally funded program Lifeline. The program ensures that low-income families, disabled individuals, or senior citizens can access communication services. It provides a monthly discount on landline or wireless phones, as well as discounts on internet service and even free smart devices like tablets. Those who qualify for the program can expect to meet specific criteria, such as enrolling in a government assistance program or having a household income at or below 135% of the poverty guidelines. Documentation that can be used to show program participation or income eligibility includes ID/benefit cards, pay stubs from an employer, three consecutive months of benefit checks, Social Security statement of benefits, unemployment compensation statement of benefits, section 8 housing vouchers, disability benefits, veteran’s pensions or survivor’s benefits, or any other legal documents proving income such as a divorce decree or child support award.
Currently, most Ohio Lifeline providers offer discounted landline or mobile phone service.