Senior citizens often find it difficult to be able to afford a proper life because of retirement. Therefore, they can struggle even with basic necessities and they are hardly able to save money for other purposes. As a result, they cannot even afford to buy a phone or to pay phone bills to keep in touch with their family members or in more severe cases-they can’t reach any emergency services should an emergency situation occur. This has driven the government to fund a free cell phones program for seniors, especially seniors with physical disabilities and financial difficulties.
The US government has cooperated with a few telecommunication companies like Safelink Wireless and TracFone to provide free senior-friendly cell phones. The program is currently available in most states with the plan to include the program in all 50 as well as some US territories. This program offers features that are particularly focused to meet senior citizens communication needs. Senior- friendly phones are meant to provide basic communication services for the elderly. Therefore, this phone is specifically designated to be bigger in size along with bigger buttons and some emergency numbers already pre-set so that senior citizens can use them more easily.
In addition, the cooperated telecommunication companies have also offered free cell phone service for senior citizens. The telecommunication companies designed low budget plans and free bonus minutes each month. This program has received a positive response from citizens and the government keep on improving to en sure that senior cell phones program is hitting the right target market. There are qualifications for the senior citizens to be eligible to join the program which are:
- They are already on other social programs such as Food Stamps or SSI
- They are disabled or handicapped individuals
- They live in a government housing program
- They have a physical address where the phone can be mailed (no PO Box)