The government has an outreach program that is dedicated to giving out free phones to those who really need them. The program might have gained popularity a few years back, but in fact, it has been around for over a decade and a half. It is still a program in progress, as it continues to traverse through the country to reach as many jurisdictions as possible.
Depending on the resources at your disposal, you can make it either via phone, regular mail, or over the internet. Your approval does not take long, and if you are eligible a phone is sent to you, inclusive of the promised free minutes.
In the application, you need to fill more than just your name and your permanent address. For some states, you are required to divulge your income details. Of course if you earn enough to get yourself a mortgage, you might not qualify. Your income level has to be below the poverty levels. This proof can be provided by your pay stubs, your tax returns, or by your employer. You also need a social security number, as the last digits will be required as well. In most cases, you need to be enrolled to a public assistance program like Medicaid for you to be eligible. If you meet the criteria, and are approved, a phone is sent to you within a weeks time.
The phone comes with preloaded minutes, so you can start talking as soon as you get it. The numbers of minutes are not exactly many, but then this is dependant on the state that you are in. But even with that, 250 minutes, which is on the higher side of the minutes given, are not so many. And these are only renewed after every month, so there is a strong likelihood that they will not last through the 4 weeks. Should you run out before the renewal date, you can purchase more if you still want to make calls. And if by any chance, you fail to use the minutes, they are rolled over to the next month, which only means the less you talk, the more the minutes that will pile up.
Sometimes a renewal process is undertaken for some applicants, and this is done with the aim of verifying the qualification eligibility. If you fail to meet the criteria, say, because you earn more than you used to, you are removed from the program. You do get to keep the phone and use it.