Understanding the Universal Service Fee On Your Cell Phone

I Recently read a AP Wire report in the Courier Journal that outlined how low-income families were now eligible for a free cell phone with 250 minutes of  service.

The plan is through Assurance Wireless, a prepaid phone service provided by Sprint. This service is now rolled out to the Kentuckiana area where Assurance says more than 211,000 residents are without a job, and more than 18% are living under the  federal poverty line. This is the 36th state to receive the benefit.

“As we’ve become available in more and more states, Assurance is proud to help customers stay connected to potential employers, medical providers and child care-givers,” said Grace Boehm, director for Assurance Wireless. “We look forward to providing this same type of assistance to eligible Kentuckians who need support and resources during, what continue to be, rough economic times for many.”

Customers eligible for Assurance Wireless include those who participate in Medicaid, Food Stamps/SNAP, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8), Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) or National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Program. Supporting documentation is required to prove eligibility.

This Program is managed by the Universal Service Fund, as established by the FCC as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

So when you see the fee on you lan line or on your cell phone provider  bill for a ” Universal Service Fee”, understand that you are contributing to  free cell phones  with 250 minutes or reduced telephone services ( including installation fees) for those Kentucky residents making under $25,000.00 a year. I had no idea.

The link for the free phone service http://www.assurancewireless.com/Images/PDFFiles/CustomerInfo/English/AW_KY_CUSTOMER_CERTIFICATION_ENGLISH.pdf