Free Cell Phone Program For Welfare Recipients Rolling Into Colorado Soon

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Hey 16 other states now have some sort of deal with TracFone to provide free cell phones and service to people on their welfare rolls so why not just keep the ball rolling right into Colorado?

Six months ago we had a post about Alabama kicking off their own nifty cell phone program for all their, at the time–it’s no doubt higher now, 560,000 residents on public assistance which can be found here.

Now we can’t really blame TracFone, the company behind this nationwide push for cell phones with talk and texting capabilities for welfare recipients, they are just taking advantage of FCC regulations that were put into place many years ago designed to bring telephone and emergency service to rural and “financially disadvantaged” customers.

After all there are millions of American citizens who happen to live way out in the boonies and it’s really not fair to force them to shoulder the entire cost burden of running telephone lines and placing the requisite equipment so they too can access 911 emergency services and be able to place phone calls to friends and family. Who would argue about lending a hand to this narrow slice of our society?

I think the problems begin to pop up when taxpayers and telephone service customers start getting wind of the fact that politicians, pandering to the usual suspects hoping to get their vote during the following election cycle, are forcing them to subsidize those on public assistance with fancy pants $50 cell phones and in Colorado’s case, 83 minutes a month for talking and texting. There is a provision for those receiving the free phones and service in Colorado to purchase additional minutes above and beyond the 83 provided each month but it isn’t clear how that would work.

Oh who are we kidding, taxpayers and telephone customers will be paying for any (all) of these overages too.

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Oh I know a certain group of people get all up in a snit when anyone attempts to bring this kind of perk for those on welfare up for discussion, pretending they are somehow more compassionate and understanding of their fellow man who just happened to come into a tough bump in the road of life and needs a hand until they can get back on their feet.

In reality very few people have an issue with assisting those who need access to a temporary safety net until they are able to regroup and get back in the game. The problem lies with those who aren’t looking for a safety net but turn our taxpayer funded welfare system into a lifelong hammock then pass the program on to their offspring and things like free cell phones and service become yet another reason for these people to wonder why they should bother moving away from public assistance and become self sustaining either for the first time or once again. It wasn’t that long ago when most people on welfare were very uncomfortable asking their neighbors to pay for most of their food and rent and couldn’t wait to get off the public dole. These days, perhaps not so much.

From today’s denverpost.com,

Poor in Colorado may get free phones

TracFone Wireless wants to give cellphones to Coloradans who receive public assistance.

Thousands of low-income Coloradans reliant on public assistance could get a free cellphone under a plan before the state Public Utilities Commission.

If approved, the plan by TracFone Wireless in Miami would make Colorado the 17th state it has settled into with free cell service for the indigent, a form of wireless welfare that proponents say taps into one of the last untapped markets for the telecom technology.

“Our hope is to have it up and running by September,” said Jose Fuentes, TracFone’s director of government relations. “Historically, it’s a very underutilized service, and we’d like that to change.”

The program is a twist on Lifeline, a long-standing federal subsidy that provides low-income families with a break on their land-line telephone bill in order to ensure emergency 911 service.

In Colorado, it’s called LITAP — the Low Income Telephone Assistance Program — and is available to anyone receiving aid from any of six welfare funds: Colorado Works Assistance (TANF), Supplemental Security Income, LEAP, Aid to Needy Disabled, the Old Age Pension Fund and Aid to the Blind.

The rest of this article can be read here>>>

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10 Responses to Free Cell Phone Program For Welfare Recipients Rolling Into Colorado Soon

  1. cassandra says:

    Public assistance does not mean welfare. Welfare is cash assistance. This program is for anyone who is poor or getting food stamps or energy assistance or is below the poverty line. In Europe there are many many programs for the poor. That is why the crime level is much lower there than in the United States.

    • Sherneane says:

      I would agree with you if there was a time limit on how long a person or family can collect welfare. You are correct, it is designed for the poor however how many American and Non-Americans have received public aid for over 10 years. We have allowed this to go on for so long,….. this country is literally broke, and instead of making forcing people to earn their living, we are enabling. We reward teens for having un protected sex by giving them a check each month , to take care of their mistake and no one holds the parents responsible. This is only the beginning of a lazy society. What happend to hard work? ooh I know, its an urban legend.

    • Jason says:

      cassandra, I don’t know where you get your info but violent crime rate in England per capita is more than double that in the U.S. Research it! Nothing but the truth here.

  2. Harry says:

    Let’s do a little a little math on this just for fun..let’s just use the Alabama stats. I know it won’t be perfect but let’s just see what round about number we come up with…
    560,000 recipients x Approx $60.00 per month = $33,600,000 per month for the state of Alabama
    Now let’s multiply that by 12 months to get the yearly cost.
    $33,600,000 x 12 months = $403,200,000 per year for the state of Alabama.
    Now let’s use those figures to estimate the annual cost for all 50 states annually.
    $403,200,000 x 50 states = $20,160,000,000

    Can we really afford to spend another 20 billion dollars on cell phones??

    That’s completely insane..

    I don’t see anything in our constitution where it says “The right to bear cell phones.”

  3. Robin says:

    someone should research the words prepaid…. the charge for phone is a one time charge.. it does not cost that to add minutes.. also who has considered how far 83 mins will go.. I have had a min phone, and when the min are low it tells you how many remaining.. when they are done the phone goes dead.. there are no overages… and you wont get much more than emergency calls out of that.. I can’t afford to keep putting min on those phones.. so I do without.. because I have to.. it is impossible to find phone booths that work.. hope you have good neighbors. And I would like those who feel strongly.. to attempt to limit your phone usage to 83 min.. for the next month.

  4. Laura C says:

    You have to know that trac phone has probably donated the phones or at the least gave the govt. a great deal. And as far as trac phone reasons. well like you all have said who can just use the 83 min per month. Figure up how much the company is making on the ones that buy the extra minutes every month and upgrade the plain phone that you get on this program for one that has the cool things with it, then the money paid for ringtones and everything else that you can get. . I am here in Illinois and we only get 60 minutes a month. I dont think that people are using the small amount of free minutes for just talking or texting. I do not buy extras minutes, I can’t afford it. I do only use mine for emergencies. or a quick call for something. It is never just a helpful plan, there is something in it for everyone. the govt the company and whoever else is involved. So everyone get over the whole “we’re paying for all of these welfare people cell phones just to have” There are alot of people that do need them, and use them for their intended purpose. Emergencies. Yes there are those that take advantage of the welfare system and I do hate that, but there is nothing that we can do about that. They try to but someone can always find a way around things. Myself, I am thankful to have this phone. I am able to call my doctor when needed, my children if I need help. I am a disabled woman that is living on just short of 700 dollars a month. There is no way that I could afford a home phone let alone any cell phone program. THis has been a god send for me. And I am sure that there are alot of people like me out there. So to those that say, the poor people should do for themselves, we try to but sometimes we just need a little help.

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  6. Jenna says:

    Im sorry but laura did you acutally say that you would like to see who much it costs to have the people add minutes on and see if that would help the cost? that is hilarious because you know the medical card that people get? well believe it or not theres a co-pay and uh i dont know about you but i think i have at least two dollars in change somewhere in my car. But that still does not get paid, im sure they can file it somewhere and have the state also pick it up. Sounds mean of me but at 19 i pay for my school and taxes phone and everything else i dont want to give my money to anyone i work for it. i sound greedy but i am starting to be worse off then jobless people now. I have actually heard someone say ” you should just have a baby they pay for school, food, insurance, housing and other things. and now you can get a cell phone!” Oh yeah and some of them claim those things on their taxes. Thank you America for screwing over the people who work and struggle and still try to maintain their pride.

  7. Patricia says:

    I work for a cell phone company, which I will not name. All cell phones being put on a network must be E-911 capable. Meaning they must have the capability of dialing 911 whether there are minutes on it or not, prepaid or not. With that said, why are we providing airtime to welfare recipients and using the excuse “so they can make emergency calls”? That’s a load of crap. I don’t pay taxes so somebody on welfare can have a cell phone and airtime to call and text their family and friends. A cell phone is not a necessity, it is a luxury. If a person chooses to live out in the boonies and not have a phone, it is not up to the state to provide them with one. Nobody made them live in such a remote area. For those who say they are grateful for cell phones and use them for their intended purposes, they lived without them for all this time so what’s the difference now? Nobody “needs” a cell phone. Get a house phone and let the state pay for that. I see that as more of a necessity than a cell.

  8. Tom says:

    I don’t think its right to ask the tax paying, working public to provide the “poor” with a fully functional cell phone. It would be one thing for a “911″ phone but not regular phone. Even then,only remote areas. UNLIKE popular thought a cell phone isn’t a necesity of life.

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