The Lifeline program has helped millions of Americans gain access to critical phone service through its free and discounted programs. Unfortunately, the benefits of Lifeline are often overlooked due to myths and misconceptions surrounding the program. A brief discussion with Issa Asad, CEO of Florida-based Q Link Wireless, reveals some common falsehoods about Lifeline and the value of this necessary program, which provides phone service to low-income individuals and families who need it most.
Fiction: The Obama Administration started giving free phones to welfare recipients through the Lifeline program during President Obama’s first term in office, and continued to do so throughout his second.
The Facts: This rumor is false for several reasons. First, the Lifeline program predates the Obama administration by more than 20 years. It began in the mid-1980s under President Reagan and was enhanced during the Bush administration through the addition of discounted wireless plans.
Additionally, this phone access is not provided by the government, but by cellular service providers who work with the federal program to bring phone access to families in need. In the case of Q Link, Asad explains, “Not only do we grant cell phone service, but we also cover costs of a free cell phone for use with the monthly service.” Phones are paid for by Q Link Wireless, and are not subsidized by the government.
Lastly, Lifeline is not limited to welfare recipients. Eligibility is determined at the state level based on income, as well as through eligibility for other government assistance programs.
The Fiction: You tax dollars fund the Lifeline program, which adds to the federal deficit.
The Facts: Contrary to popular misconception, Lifeline is funded by telecommunications companies though a Universal Services fee automatically tacked onto monthly bills. In other words, not a dime of federal money supports Lifeline.
In fact, according to Asad, the Lifeline program may actually have a positive impact on reducing the federal deficit by helping participants find jobs and free themselves of the need for public assistance. The more people use Lifeline, the greater the likelihood of increasing their self-sufficiency and reducing government spend.
The Fiction: The Lifeline program needs reform.
The Facts: The Lifeline program has undergone vigorous FCC reforms and has now become one of the most well-managed government assistance programs, among the lowest in misuse.
The Fiction: The Lifeline program doesn’t help.
The Facts: The lives of millions of Americans have been vastly improved over the past three decades thanks to the Lifeline program. In an era in which many families simply don’t have the phone service to get a job, receive 911 emergency services, or stay connected to loved ones. Lifeline fills the void to help these people in need improve their lives.
Above content provided by Issa Asad CEO of Q Link Wireless and Quadrant Holdings, located in Dania, Florida.