What is an Obama phone?

Tracfone Alcatel One Touch 205S.  Lifeline Program phone. picture used under the Fair trade act.
By DE
@DaddyEvil (21303)
United States
October 7, 2016 6:58pm CST
The Lifeline phone is a Roosevelt initiative (some people call it an Obama phone) that was expanded under the Bush administration. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Obama! If you receive any type of government assistance, like SNAP benefits (foodstamps), Medicare/Medicaid, SSI, Section 8 housing, LIHEAP, TANF, Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, TTANF or FDPIR (plus some other state administered assistance programs then you qualify to receive a Lifeline phone, free of charge. Most people believe they are only eligible to receive a basic candy bar phone or a junky flip phone... but that isn't true. Yes, the phone the Lifeline organization will send you is going to be a candy bar phone or a flip phone, but you can always buy one of the more expensive phones the company who is administering your particular handset/minutes sells. This includes smart phones! Yes, I said you could BUY one of the nice smart phones from that company (in my area the company is Tracfone in other areas other service providers administer the handset/minutes), move your phone number to that new handset (called port) and move the minutes from the cheap handset to the more expensive handset you purchased. You can apply for one of these phones here: http://www.freegovernmentcellphones.net/basics/qualify Do you know someone who qualifies for one of these phones but doesn't know where or how to get one?
27 people like this
26 responses
@rebelann (29512)
• El Paso, Texas
8 Oct 16
I'll bet there are tons of peeps who don't know about this.
6 people like this
@pgntwo (20486)
• Derry, Northern Ireland
8 Oct 16
Thanks for the suggestion @rebelann, I'd already got here earlier :)
5 people like this
@pgntwo (20486)
• Derry, Northern Ireland
8 Oct 16
@rebelann No sweat - good news travels faster that way :)
3 people like this
@rebelann (29512)
• El Paso, Texas
8 Oct 16
So kind of you @pgntwo some on Mylot hate when people suggest stuff. I'll hear from them later oh well..............
3 people like this
@LadyDuck (113739)
• Switzerland
8 Oct 16
Most of the time, in many countries. those who are eligible to obtain something, are those who do not know.
4 people like this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
9 Oct 16
Yes, Anna, that is true! This is actually the second time I have posted about the Lifeline Program in an online forum. I posted about it as one of my very first posts on Bubbs. I decided that since several people mentioned it in the last couple of days, I would post about it and give some different people a chance to let friends and relatives know about it. We do have a large contingent of U.S. citizens on myLot. (I know it doesn't help anyone from another country, but I hope none of you mind.)
2 people like this
@LadyDuck (113739)
• Switzerland
9 Oct 16
@DaddyEvil Of course we do not mind, what is not useful for non U.S. users, surely is for the U.S. citizens. Just a curiosity, is the program for U.S. citizens only or also for people with permanent residence in the United States?
2 people like this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
9 Oct 16
@LadyDuck I have seen people who have student visas applying for and receiving Lifeline phones, as long as they otherwise qualify for it.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (88985)
• Marion, Kansas
8 Oct 16
My sister would qualify but thinks it would be too much trouble. She has straight talk and I even tried to get her just to switch to Tracfone and she will not. I have never heard the term ObamaPhone, but I would call it a government phone.
3 people like this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
9 Oct 16
Hmmm... once she applies and qualifies to receive the Lifeline phone, there is nothing else to it, GG... I wonder what makes her think it would be difficult? You might suggest she look and see if a local to her Walmart sells Total Wireless. It is a new sister company to Straight Talk. They offer almost the same deal as Straight Talk, too. There are two differences between the companies... ST sells their mid-range card for $45 and gives 5 GB of high speed data and then slows it down to 2 G speed for the rest of that month. TW sells their card for $35 and gives 5 GB of high speed data. When the 5 GB is used, the data stops. If your sister uses less than 200 minutes in phone calls in a month, then Tracfone is actually the company she is best suited for... SMH! Some people are just stubborn! (shrug!)
@pgntwo (20486)
• Derry, Northern Ireland
8 Oct 16
An interesting initiative... I wonder who is getting the benefits here...? If something is 'free', it means you are the product.
2 people like this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
8 Oct 16
Well, as I stated, pgn, it was set up to make sure the low income people who can't afford a cell phone, or actually, any phone at all, could get one to use for emergencies and generally, just to keep in touch with friends, family and their jobs. I do know this program is abused quite a bit, though... I've seen several people who qualify for this assistance give the phones to their friends and relatives who don't qualify but want one anyway just to keep from paying for a cell phone.... They are getting somewhat more difficult to get in my area, too. (My daughter qualifies for one, but even though she has applied for one several times, her application always gets lost-in-the-mail.... or so she is told.) I have had several people who buy a replacement phone that is the latest and greatest model port a number from a Lifeline phone.... If they can afford $700 for a phone, why are they receiving Lifeline benefits? (That always irks me!)
2 people like this
@pgntwo (20486)
• Derry, Northern Ireland
8 Oct 16
@DaddyEvil Re your last point, some people overspend, we all know where that ends up... I can see why that is irksome. I have seen decent spec Android phones on Amazon in the UK for less than £80, they seem to be more affordable... Have not got one yet, my aged HTC One mini steams along ok, for the most part. It seems strange that the "lost in the mail" excuse is offered so often though, I agree.
2 people like this
@akalinus (12428)
• United States
8 Oct 16
@DaddyEvil When dealing with the government, you should always, always make hard copies of everything because they usually "lose" them.
3 people like this
@akalinus (12428)
• United States
8 Oct 16
I signed up at Walmart. The phone I posted a picture of on another thread was what they sent me. Beggars can't be choosers, the old saying goes.
2 people like this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
9 Oct 16
Pretty can't get to Walmart during the daytime when they have someone there pestering people to sign up... Actually, you can be picky, though... Nothing says you have to keep the phone the Lifeline Program representatives send you. You can always buy a different phone and port your Lifeline number to it.
2 people like this
@vandana7 (56875)
• India
9 Oct 16
Glad to see you here ..
2 people like this
@akalinus (12428)
• United States
9 Oct 16
@DaddyEvil Would it have to be another LG phone? Or any phone?
1 person likes this
@topffer (29625)
• France
8 Oct 16
You should have chosen something else than a photo of a phone made in France for your example of cheap phone. I worked in the city where Alcatel phones are assembled. I do not think that we have something similar to this free phone initiative here.
2 people like this
@topffer (29625)
• France
9 Oct 16
@DaddyEvil Alcatel was a French brand, that merged with Lucent in the USA, the owner of Bell Laboratories. The group Alcatel-Lucent has been bought by Nokia last year, but the headquarters are still in the Paris area. I cannot tell if this model is assembled in France, USA or China. There are a few NGO distributing free phones to people without a home in France, but we have not something similar coming from the state.
2 people like this
@vandana7 (56875)
• India
9 Oct 16
@topffer ... That is interesting information...
2 people like this
@just4him (85639)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
10 Oct 16
I have one. They just started having data plans. I'm not taking advantage of it as it means I would then need to buy the data plan and for me, free means free.
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
10 Oct 16
Yep! I can understand that, Valerie! When you get your next royalty check, if you have some left over from paying bills, you can still join the modern age and buy a replacement phone. It can even be a smart phone. You don't have to buy a data plan as long as you have access to free Wi-Fi. Smart phones can access the internet via free Wi-Fi all you want and it stays free. (See what I told Crazy in the reply in her box. I explain it better there.)
1 person likes this
@just4him (85639)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
13 Oct 16
@DaddyEvil It wasn't a large royalty check, not enough to get a smart phone. This was the first one I've gotten in two years so I was excited. It's a thought about buying a replacement phone. Can I use the Wi-Fi I have with my Internet? Probably a duh question, but you never know.
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
13 Oct 16
@just4him Oh, well that is too bad, Valerie... I am glad you received a royalty check, though... Wish it could have been more! Yes, you could use your existing Wi-Fi on your replacement phone. (No question is a duh one, if you don't know the answer. It would be silly to not know but think it is a stupid question so don't ask when you know I can answer that!)
1 person likes this
@inertia4 (26585)
• United States
9 Oct 16
I hate that they call it an Obama phone. How stupid is that. I could get one of those phones but I don't bother. I have an iPhone and that is what I had since they came out in 2007.
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
9 Oct 16
People just call it that because one of the Republicans during the last election made a reference to the Lifeline Program and a reporter linked Obama to that remark.... Most people have no clue! And really don't care! Oh, I am so sorry! Would you like some help picking out a good phone for a change, inertia? There are a wide range of Android phones that you might like!
1 person likes this
@inertia4 (26585)
• United States
9 Oct 16
@DaddyEvil No, no android phones for me. I am Apple all the way.
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
10 Oct 16
@inertia4 Yes, I have seen you say that to @mommaj, too... Again, I am sorry. You seem to be caught up in all the misleading hype Apple puts out to trick and confuse their customers... If you ever decide to get a good phone, let me know. I will help you select a good Android. (teasing and grinning at you!)
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Oct 16
seriously?? dang, both momma 'n the aunt could'a gotten free service all this time... reckon i'll pass that info to 'em 'n let 'em decide if'n 'tis somethin' they wish to do. thanks fer the info!
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
10 Oct 16
You are very welcome, Crazy! IDK which company administers the Lifeline Program where they live, but do tell your mom and aunt that whichever company it is, they are not limited to only the cheap phone sent to them when they qualify for this program. Pretend for a minute that they both qualify and the provider is Tracfone. After they receive their Lifeline phone, your mom and aunt can go to Walmart and buy whatever phone from Tracfone they want. Then they just switch the number from their Lifeline given phone to the one they bought. Lifeline will continue putting the minutes that should have gone onto the cheap phones onto whatever phone has the Lifeline phone number attached to it.
2 people like this
• United States
10 Oct 16
@DaddyEvil i sent 'em the info, but they're content with what they've got. our family aint one much to seek assistance. the aunt pays $35/month fer her smart phone 'n momma got'n my plan fer $10/month. but, 'tis handy info to've :)
1 person likes this
@just4him (85639)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
13 Oct 16
@DaddyEvil Now that's a good idea. The phone I have is from Sprint.
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Nov
I probably did qualify, but don't think I do now.
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
22 Nov
Hmmm.... if you fit into any of the categories I listed in the second paragraph, then you do qualify for this program now, Carmela. If you are getting some kind of state assistance, then you still might qualify for this program. You can fill out the form and they will let you know if you qualify or not. It can't hurt anything to apply, right?
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Nov
@DaddyEvil True, but I think I better find out if I still qualify for medicaid, then I will apply.
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
22 Nov
@Carmelanirel2 Okay, hon! Good luck to you!
1 person likes this
@HazySue (16085)
• United States
25 Oct
That is terrific. Thank you for sharing this information. It could be a tremendous help to some.
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
31 Oct
You are very welcome! I'm hoping to get word around to people who really do need the help!
1 person likes this
@HazySue (16085)
• United States
4 Nov
@DaddyEvil It is a wonderful idea. I imagine there are many things available to those in need that they do not know about.
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
5 Nov
@HazySue Thanks! I know you are right.... the problem lies in finding the available things and then bringing them to the attention of the people in need... myLot is not the ideal platform to do that on, really.... We are too scattered around the world and most of us don't qualify for the things (like the phones) I tell people about. sigh!
1 person likes this
@Rollo1 (16674)
• Boston, Massachusetts
9 Oct 16
You can't use a true smartphone with Lifeline service. No androids. But you can use a semi-smart phone that uses Java apps and will connect to wi-fi. What happened under Obama that makes people call it an Obama phone is the widespread ability of the NSA to remotely turn on the mic and listen to the sounds around the phone at any time whether or not the phone is in use. And the video of a woman proclaiming to a reporter that she was going to get lots of bennies from Obama including an "Obama phone" is why the phrase became stuck in the popular vernacular.
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
10 Oct 16
Honestly, people who qualify for the Lifeline Program CAN use a smart Android phone, if they want. I have helped many Lifeline recipients move their Lifeline phone number to a smart phone. They have no problem using them. Hmmm... thank you! I wondered why people kept calling it an "Obama" phone. I was told it was because of some Republican trying to make Obama look worse than he makes himself look. The NSA can turn on the mic as well as the camera on ANY phone, whenever they want, whether the phone is in use or not. Even mine, which has the camera/mic deactivated by an app for that purpose unless I want to turn it on. (The app protects my phone's camera/mic from any other source but can't block a direct "order" from the NSA. That is specifically pointed out in the app itself.)
1 person likes this
@Rollo1 (16674)
• Boston, Massachusetts
10 Oct 16
@DaddyEvil All I know is that on the Tracfone site, the androids have a statement saying that they don't qualify for the Lifeline program. As for the NSA turning on your phone, take out the battery or keep it in a Faraday cage. You can make one with tin foil.
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
13 Oct 16
@Rollo1 That is true enough, Anja. But Tracfone only means you won't receive one of the smart phones to use as a Lifeline phone. If the person receiving Lifeline benefits buys the phone, they can move the Lifeline number onto that phone and still receive their monthly allotment of minutes. If I was actually worried about the NSA, I would not be using a cell phone. (I just wanted to stop hackers from recording me with my own phone. I put a piece of cardboard taped over the camera on my laptops and tablet pc's, but that would be a bit awkward to do with a cell phone.)
1 person likes this
• Australia
10 Oct 16
So, will Obama-Hillary's 550% open-border benificiaries of tax-payers' money can have access to all these give-aways-- but first get their Obama phones. Perhaps, NSA can work with FBI to extreme vet these open-border "visitors" who get these Obama phones as welcoming "lovey-gifts". It's like tracking devises installed on the phones.
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
10 Oct 16
Hmmm... I mean no disrespect, but I am non-political. I don't believe either of the two people running for President of the U.S. are capable of wiping their own bungholes, let alone governing our country! I am not enthused with the proposals to either open our borders or to building another "Great Wall". Both Presidential wanna-be's are lying, manipulative people unfit to clean up behind the dregs of our society... They can't even take care of their own lives, let alone anyone else's! How either of them finagled their way to this point is beyond me.... but they are what we are stuck with this time around.... If I MUST choose between the two of them, I will vote for Hillary rather than the dumb fu*k! He can't even govern his own mouth! And people want to put him in office! O. M. G.! What is this world coming to?
1 person likes this
• Australia
10 Oct 16
@DaddyEvil Hmmm... that certainly is a mouthful. Interesting talk. Maybe Hillary would be needing that Obama phone in jail. LOL!
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
13 Oct 16
@everwonderwhy Sorry about that, Mrs. Wise.... I had gotten involved in a political discussion about those two offline and was still angry someone dragged me into something I didn't want to think about, let alone discuss. (I'm talking about the offline person here.) Unfortunately for Hillary, if she goes to jail, that disqualifies her from receiving a Lifeline phone.
1 person likes this
@teenspirit (1612)
• Israel
8 Oct 16
Actually no..but very nice to know
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
9 Oct 16
Okay. I hope you have a great day!
1 person likes this
• Israel
9 Oct 16
@DaddyEvil oh yes..thanks=)
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
10 Oct 16
@teenspirit You're welcome!
1 person likes this
@PainsOnSlate (18781)
• Canada
14 Oct 16
Now I wished I lived in the States.... or not just for a phone.
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
16 Oct 16
LOL! Believe me, right now I would happily trade places with you, pains! Would you be interested in coming to a party? Everyone is invited!
1 person likes this
• Canada
16 Oct 16
I have faith the party will be a good one.@DaddyEvil
1 person likes this
@JESSY3236 (4702)
• United States
10 Oct 16
I have one of those phones, but where I live I never got a good signal so I ended up letting the service go.
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
13 Oct 16
Did you try getting a phone that uses a different carrier? If your provider was Tracfone, they have phones that use Verizon, AT&T, Spring and T-Mobile services.
@JESSY3236 (4702)
• United States
14 Oct 16
@DaddyEvil My mother was thinking of me getting another carrier, but we haven't done it yet.
1 person likes this
@MissNikki (2459)
• Canada
8 Oct 16
I'm Canadian but I want an Obama phone! LoL
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
9 Oct 16
Honestly, that isn't beyond the realm of possibility, you know.
1 person likes this
@MissNikki (2459)
• Canada
9 Oct 16
@DaddyEvil Ya never know!
1 person likes this
@Jessicalynnt (48191)
• Centralia, Missouri
17 Oct 16
I can think of a few people on HERE who do and havent done this
1 person likes this
@divalounger (2272)
• United States
10 Oct 16
You are right--I think most people don't know about this!!
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
13 Oct 16
That is the reason I posted this discussion... I hoped people who qualify would learn about it and apply for it.
@sol_cee (13021)
• Japan
10 Oct 16
What else are named after Obama?
1 person likes this
@DaddyEvil (21303)
• United States
13 Oct 16
I really don't know, Sol. It really bugs me when people call the Lifeline program "Obama" phones.