If you are looking for a free or low-cost wireless service that provides you with basic communication needs, you might have heard of Safelink Wireless. But what is Safelink Wireless exactly, and how can you benefit from it? In this article, we will answer these questions and more, as we guide you through everything you need to know about Safelink Wireless.
What is Safelink Wireless?
Safelink Wireless is a government-supported program that offers free or discounted wireless service to eligible low-income households in the United States. It is part of the Lifeline Assistance program, which was established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1985 to provide affordable phone service to low-income Americans.
Safelink Wireless is operated by TracFone Wireless, Inc., one of the largest prepaid wireless providers in the US. TracFone partners with major network carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint to provide nationwide coverage to its customers.
How Safelink Wireless Works
Safelink Wireless works by providing eligible customers with a free or discounted wireless plan that includes a certain amount of voice minutes, text messages, and data every month. The exact amount of minutes, texts, and data varies depending on the state and plan you choose.
For example, in California, you can get a free plan that includes unlimited talk and text, plus 4.5 GB of data per month. In other states, you can get a free plan that includes 350 minutes, unlimited texts, and 4.5 GB of data per month. You can also choose to pay a small fee to upgrade your plan and get more minutes or data.
Safelink Wireless also provides eligible customers with a free smartphone or SIM card that they can use with their own compatible phone. The smartphone models vary depending on availability and location, but they are usually basic Android devices that can perform basic functions such as calling, texting, browsing the web, and using apps.
Benefits of Safelink Wireless
Safelink Wireless offers many benefits to its customers, such as:
- Saving money on your wireless bill. You can get free or discounted wireless service that meets your communication needs without breaking the bank.
- Staying connected with your family, friends, work, health care providers, and emergency services. You can use your phone to make calls, send texts, access the internet, and use essential apps that can help you with your daily life.
- Enjoying nationwide coverage and reliable service. You can use your phone anywhere in the US where there is a signal from one of the major network carriers that TracFone partners with.
- Having no contracts, bills, or credit checks. You can use your service as long as you remain eligible and recertify your status every year. You don’t have to worry about any hidden fees or charges.
How to Apply for Safelink Wireless
If you are interested in applying for Safelink Wireless, you need to follow these steps:
The first step is to check if you are eligible for Safelink Wireless. To be eligible, you need to meet one of these two criteria:
- You have an income that is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines. The income limits vary depending on your household size and state. You can check the income guidelines here: https://www.lifelinesupport.org/do-i-qualify/federal-poverty-guidelines/
- You participate in one of these federal assistance programs: Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA), Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit, Tribal Programs (and live on federally-recognized Tribal lands).
You also need to have a valid US mailing address (not a PO box) and not be currently receiving Lifeline service from another provider.
The second step is to fill out an online application form on the Safelink Wireless website: https://www.safelinkwireless.com/Enrollment/Safelink/en/NewPublic/index.html
Personal information such as your name, address, date of birth, social security number (or tribal ID number), email address, phone number, and preferred language will be required.
Upload proof of your income or programme participation, such as a pay stub, tax return, benefit letter, or enrollment card. You can use your phone to take a picture of your documents or a scanner to scan them.
After you submit your application form and documents, you will receive a confirmation email with your enrollment ID number. You can use this number to check the status of your application on the website or by calling customer service at 1-800-723-3546.
Activation and Enrollment
The third step is to activate your service and enroll in a plan. If you are approved for Safelink Wireless, you will receive a welcome package in the mail within 7-10 business days. The package will include:
- A free smartphone or SIM card
- A user manual
- A terms and conditions booklet
- A plan brochure
To activate your service, you need to insert the SIM card into your phone (or turn on the smartphone) and follow the instructions on the screen. You will need to enter your zip code and enrollment ID number.
To enroll in a plan, you need to choose one of the available plans for your state on the website or by calling customer service. You can also change your plan at any time if you want more minutes or data.
How to Use Safelink Wireless
Once you activate your service and enroll in a plan, you can start using Safelink Wireless as your regular wireless provider. Here are some tips on how to use it:
Plans and Features
Depending on your state and plan choice, you will get a certain amount of voice minutes, text messages, and data every month. You can use these minutes, texts, and data to make calls, send texts, access the internet, and use apps on your phone. You can also make international calls to select countries at no extra cost.
Your minutes, texts, and data will reset every month on the same date as when you activated your service. For example, if you activated your service on June 15th, your minutes, texts, and data will reset on July 15th, August 15th, and so on.
You can check how many minutes, texts, and data you have left at any time by dialing *611 from your phone or by logging into your account on the website.
Phones and Devices
Safelink Wireless provides you with a free smartphone or SIM card that you can use with your own compatible phone. The smartphone models vary depending on availability and location, but they are usually basic Android devices that can perform basic functions such as calling, texting, browsing the web, and using apps.
You can also bring your own phone if it is compatible with Safelink Wireless. To check if your phone is compatible, you need to enter its IMEI number on the website or by calling customer service. The IMEI number is a unique code that identifies your phone. You can find it by dialing *#06# from your phone or by looking under the battery or on the box.
If you bring your own phone, you will need to insert the SIM card that Safelink Wireless sends you into your phone. You may also need to adjust some settings such as APN or network mode to make sure your phone works properly. You can find instructions on how to do this on the website or by calling customer service.
Customer Service and Support
If you have any questions or issues with Safelink Wireless, you can contact customer service at 1-800-723-3546. They are available seven days a week from 8 am to 10 pm EST. You can also chat with them online on the website.
You can also find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the website. Some of the topics covered include:
- How to recertify your eligibility every year
- How to report lost or stolen phones
- How to troubleshoot common problems
How to Manage Safelink Wireless Account
As a Safelink Wireless customer, you have access to an online account where you can manage various aspects of your service. To access your account, you
need to go to https://www.safelinkwireless.com/Enrollment/Safelink/en/Login.html and enter your phone number and the last four digits of your social security number (or tribal ID number).
On your account, you can:
- Check your balance and minutes
- Add more minutes and data
- Change your plan or phone
- Update your personal information
- Recertify your eligibility
How to Check Balance and Minutes
To check how many minutes, texts, and data you have left on your plan, you can:
- Dial *611 from your phone and follow the prompts
- Log into your account on the website and go to the “My Plan” section
- Download the “My Safelink” app on your smartphone and check your balance there
You can also sign up for text alerts that will notify you when you are running low on minutes or data. To do this, you need to log into your account on the website and go to the “Notifications” section. You can choose to receive alerts when you have 10%, 20%, or 30% of your minutes or data left.
How to Add More Minutes and Data
If you run out of minutes or data before the end of the month, you can add more by purchasing airtime cards or bundles from Safelink Wireless or other retailers such as Walmart, Walgreens, Dollar General, or Family Dollar.
You can buy airtime cards or bundles that range from $10 to $50 and include different amounts of minutes, texts, and data. For example, a $15 airtime card will give you 500 minutes, 1000 texts, and 500 MB of data.
To add more minutes or data to your plan, you need to:
- Scratch off the silver strip on the back of the airtime card or bundle to reveal the PIN number
- Dial *555 from your phone and enter the PIN number when prompted
- Or log into your account on the website and go to the “Add Airtime” section and enter the PIN number there
You can also enroll in auto-refill, which will automatically charge your credit or debit card every month for a certain amount of minutes or data. To do this, you need to log into your account on the website and go to the “Auto Refill” section. You can choose from different options such as $10 for 250 minutes, $15 for 500 minutes, or $20 for 1 GB of data.
How to Change Plan or Phone
If you want to change your plan or phone, you can do so at any time by contacting customer service at 1-800-723-3546. They will help you choose a new plan or phone that suits your needs and budget.
You can also change your plan or phone online by logging into your account on the website and going to the “Change Plan” or “Change Phone” section. You can browse through different plans or phones and select the one you want.
If you change your plan, you will lose any unused minutes, texts, or data from your old plan. If you change your phone, you will need to activate it by following the instructions that come with it.
Safelink Wireless is a great option for low-income households who need a free or low-cost wireless service that provides them with basic communication needs. By applying for Safelink Wireless, you can enjoy many benefits such as saving money, staying connected, enjoying nationwide coverage, and having no contracts or bills.
To apply for Safelink Wireless, you need to check if you are eligible, fill out an online application form, upload proof of income or program participation, activate your service, and enroll in a plan. To use Safelink Wireless, you need to manage your account online or by phone, check your balance and minutes, add more minutes or data if needed, and change your plan or phone if desired.
If you have any questions or issues with Safelink Wireless, you can contact customer service at 1-800-723-3546 or chat with them online. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions on the website.
We hope this article has helped you understand what Safelink Wireless is and how it works. If you think Safelink Wireless is right for you, don’t hesitate to apply today and start enjoying free or discounted wireless service!
Here are some frequently asked questions about Safelink Wireless:
How do I recertify my eligibility every year?
Every year, you must recertify your eligibility to continue using Safelink Wireless. When it is time to recertify, you will be notified by mail, email, or text message. Recertifying online is as simple as entering into your account and clicking the “Recertify Now” button. You can also recertify by phone by dialling 1-800-723-3546 and following the on-screen instructions. When recertifying, you may be required to produce updated proof of income or programme participation.
How do I report a lost or stolen phone?
If you lose or damage your phone, or if it is stolen, you need to report it as soon as possible to customer service at 1-800-723-3546. They will deactivate your service and send you a replacement phone or SIM card. You may need to pay a small fee for the replacement, depending on the circumstances. You will also lose any unused minutes, texts, or data from your old phone.
How do I troubleshoot common problems?
If you experience any problems with Safelink Wireless, such as no signal, no sound, no internet connection, or error messages, you can try some basic troubleshooting steps, such as:
- Turning your phone off and on again
- Removing and reinserting your SIM card
- Checking if your phone is compatible with Safelink Wireless
- Checking if your phone settings are correct
- Checking if there are any network outages in your area
If these steps do not solve your problem, you can contact customer service at 1-800-723-3546 or chat with them online. They will help you diagnose and fix the problem.
Can I transfer my Safelink Wireless service to another person?
No, you cannot transfer your Safelink Wireless service to another person. Safelink Wireless is non-transferable and only available for one person per household. If another person in your household wants Safelink Wireless, they need to apply separately and meet their own eligibility requirements.
Can I port my existing phone number to Safelink Wireless?
Yes, you can port (transfer) your existing phone number to Safelink Wireless, as long as it is active and not already associated with another Lifeline provider. To port your number, you need to contact customer service at 1-800-723-3546 and provide them with some information, such as:
- Your name and address
- Your current phone number and provider
- Your account number and PIN with your current provider
The porting process may take up to 48 hours, during which time you may not be able to use either service. Once the porting is complete, you will receive a confirmation message.
Can I use my own smartphone with Safelink Wireless?
Yes, you can use your own smartphone with Safelink Wireless, as long as it is compatible with their network. To check if your smartphone is compatible, you need to enter its IMEI number on the website or by calling customer service. The IMEI number is a unique code that identifies your phone. You can find it by dialing *#06# from your phone or by looking under the battery or on the box.
If your smartphone is compatible, you will receive a free SIM card from Safelink Wireless that you need to insert into your phone. You may also need to adjust some settings such as APN or network mode to make sure your phone works properly. You can find instructions on how to do this on the website or by calling customer service.
What are some other Lifeline providers besides Safelink Wireless?
Safelink Wireless is one of many Lifeline providers that offer free or discounted wireless service to eligible low-income households in the US. Some other Lifeline providers include:
- Assurance Wireless (https://www.assurancewireless.com/)
- Q Link Wireless (https://qlinkwireless.com/)
- Access Wireless (https://www.accesswireless.com/)
- enTouch Wireless (https://www.entouchwireless.com/)
Each Lifeline provider has its own plans, features, phones, and coverage areas. You can compare different Lifeline providers here: https://data.usac.org/publicreports/CompaniesNearMe/Download/Report
How do I cancel my Safelink Wireless service?
If you want to cancel your Safelink Wireless service for any reason, you need to contact customer service at 1-800-723-3546 and tell them that you want to cancel. They will ask you some questions to confirm your identity and process your cancellation request.
You will lose any unused minutes, texts, or data from your plan when you cancel. You will also need to return any equipment (phone or SIM card) that Safelink Wireless provided you within 30 days of cancellation. If you fail to return the equipment, you may be charged fee of up to $100.
If you cancel your Safelink Wireless service, you can reapply at any time if you still meet the eligibility requirements. However, you may not receive the same plan or phone as before.