Number of eligible residents rises by more than 51,000 in past year; MD resident uses program to recover from unemployment and stay connected to children
WARREN, N.J. (BUSINESS WIRE), May 18, 2012 – Assurance Wireless, which provides eligible residents with a free cell phone and 250 minutes of free monthly voice service, marks its two-year anniversary of providing services to Maryland residents. Assurance Wireless is a Lifeline Assistance program supported by the federal Universal Service Fund and can help more than 700,000 residents stay connected to family, medical services and jobs.
More than 200,000 Maryland residents are without a job and more than 16.8 percent are living below the federal poverty line. Assurance Wireless customers enjoy the ability to provide a contact number to and receive calls from a prospective employer, which, studies show, can improve the chances of securing employment.
“I was unemployed for an extended amount of time because of layoffs,” stated Evan M., an Assurance Wireless customer from Baltimore, Maryland. “The phone and service I received from Assurance Wireless were invaluable to my finding new employment and to my efforts to recover from this recession. It allowed me to contact potential employers and provide a way for them to respond to me, while also saving money. Having a child with a disability, I can honestly say Assurance Wireless has been miraculously helpful in keeping me connected with a team of specialists at three hospitals to coordinate ongoing and critically needed care for my children. Assurance Wireless also provides peace of mind, knowing that my daughter and son are only a call away every time they are away from home.”
“We look forward to continuing to provide this service to eligible Maryland residents who need support and resources during what continues to be a rough economic time for many,” said Grace Boehm, director-Strategy and Business Planning, Assurance Wireless.
According to data collected by Austin Nichols, a senior researcher with the Chronicle for Higher Educations Urban Institute, the rate of graduates with doctoral degrees who have filed for government assistance more than tripled between 2007 and 2010.
According to a report, “If all 28.5 million adults eligible for Lifeline Assistance were to take advantage of the program and earn at the same rate and level as [the study] sample, it would result in $3.7 billion in fresh income for the poor and near poor.”1 According to a nationwide survey from Assurance Wireless*, adults with an income of less than $25,000 are as likely to use their mobile phone for employment searches as those with higher incomes.
Assurance Wireless is a Lifeline Assistance program supported by the low-income program of the federal Universal Service Fund which is designed to insure that quality telecommunications services are available to low-income consumers at affordable rates. Customers eligible for Assurance Wireless include those who participate in Medical Assistance, Food Stamps/SNAP, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families/TANF, Supplemental Security Income/SSI, Temporary Disability Assistance Program/TDAP, Public Assistance to Adults/PAA, Electric universal Service Program/EUSP, Maryland Energy Assistance Program/MEAP. Eligibility varies by state.
In addition to a voice mail account2 and call waiting, Assurance Wireless provides caller ID and access to 911 in case of emergency. Beyond the 250 free voice minutes each month, customers can choose from other low cost options to pay for additional minutes, texting, international calling and more at competitive rates.
Eligible residents can apply for Assurance Wireless by calling (toll-free) 800-395-2171, or by visiting www.assurancewireless.com.
People who don’t qualify for Assurance Wireless but who are also struggling and searching for value can take advantage of payLo by Virgin Mobile. payLo was especially designed with value-conscious wireless consumers in mind, offering plans for as little as $20/month for 400 minutes or access to 90 days of service for $20 at a rate of less than $7 per month. payLo is available at more than 40,000 retail stores, including Best Buy, RadioShack and Target. Prospective low-income customers who find they are not eligible for Assurance Wireless may learn more about Virgin Mobile’s no-contract payLo Plan options by visiting http://www.virginmobileusa.com/cell-phone-plans/payloplans.jsp#.
Assurance Wireless is available in Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. This list of states continues to expand and can be found on the Assurance website.
About Assurance Wireless
Assurance Wireless, brought to you by Virgin Mobile USA, one of Sprint’s prepaid brands, is supported by the Lifeline Assistance program, part of the Low Income Program of the federal Universal Service Fund (USF), which is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). Assurance Wireless provides service on the Nationwide Sprint Network, which reaches more than 280 million people.
Note: Sources for all information and statistics are available upon request.
*PKS Research Partners was commissioned by Sprint/Nextel (Assurance Wireless) to conduct a research project among a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults 25 years or older in order to determine their attitudes toward and usage of mobile phones.
Note: Based on published price plans as of 5/23/2012 of major Lifeline carriers with more than 1M subscribers who provide service in more than 20 states.
2 Airtime charges apply when accessing voice mail via an Assurance Wireless phone once free minutes have been depleted.
Produced News Segment – Baltimore Customer
Jack Pflanz, 315-374-0693