There is a lot of false information floating around about the Lifeline Assistance Program. Many newspapers, blogs and talking heads truly believe this is a program that President Obama invented to give welfare recipients free cell phones. They also believe that the program is funded by taxpayer money.
If only they would take the time to check their facts they would see that they are completely wrong. First of all, let’s get one thing straight. President Obama DID NOT start the Lifeline Program to give free cell phones to low income families. As a matter of fact, he didn’t start it at all.
This program has been around since 1985. Way before President Obama got into office. Now for the million dollar question. Is the program funded by taxpayer money. No, no and no. Don’t believe me? Just check the facts.
Yes, those who are receiving some sort of government assistance can get a free cell phone. But the government or taxpayers do not fund the program. Here is how the program actually works.
Let’s use SafeLink Wireless for this example. They offer a monthly wireless plan for low income households. You have to apply and prove that you are receiving certain government benefits and that your income level is at or below 135 percent of the poverty line in order to receive the service. The poverty line changes from year to year so you need to check the poverty guidelines to see if you qualify.
The company that runs Safelink is the worlds first largest wireless company as far as subscribers go. This company is not paid for by taxpayer money. Instead it is funded through the Universal Service Fund. The Universal Service Fund is an independent, non profit corporation that was set up by the FCC. It is administered by the Universal Service Administration Company and is sustained through contributions from long distance companies, local telephone companies and wireless telephone companies just to name a few.
Ever noticed a universal service fee on your monthly cell phone bill? That is the way companies make their contributions. They don’t take it out of their pockets, instead they charge the subscriber and then contribute that money to the Universal Service Fund. That money is then divided up and sent to companies such as America Movil. The money is given to those companies because they create programs such as SafeLink that provide wireless phone service to low income families.
So President Obama has absolutely nothing to do with the so called Obama phones. As a matter of fact, SafeLink was started while President George Bush was in office. It was funded by grants from a company that was created under President Bill Clinton. That company came about as a result of an act that was passed by the late President Franklin Roosevelt.
The act that was passed? Well it was a result of an agreement between telecommunications companies that took place way back when Woodrow Wilson was President. So as you can see, this all started way before President Obama made his run for office.