How To Become A Lifeline Phone Distributor (expert guide for 2022)

Do you need to know how to become a Lifeline phone distributor? It’s a way to help people in need as well as put more money in your pocket. Read on to find out more about the opportunity and if it is a good fit for you.

What is Lifeline?

The Lifeline program is an affordable connectivity program for low income households. The lifeline government assistance program allows eligible households to have discounted communications, such as phone and internet.

The Lifeline program also provides free cellphones to eligible customers. This free Lifeline service has had a huge impact on low-income families in the United States. It has changed the lives of qualified individuals with these phone offers.

Becoming a Lifeline distributor means that you are going to be handing out those free phones. There are many different providers linked to the program. These providers offer roles as Lifeline Agents or Lifeline Distributors across the US. It is an exciting opportunity. It can also lead to a significant primary income or extra income stream.

What is the Lifeline benefit?

People need to be able to communicate. Eligible consumers cannot afford cellphones. This expense is too much alongside the daily cost of living. Getting in touch with emergency services, contacting support networks and simple day-to-day tasks are part of phone use.

The Lifeline phone service allows people to have that connection. The U.S. government has made it so that pretty much anyone in the US who needs them can access free cell phones.

How it works

Like I said, there are many different service providers. The U.S Government allows providers to offer free phones. These must have internet connectivity and hotspot functionality.

It took a while for me to find a way in to the whole process but I found a company called PayGo. PayGo hires distributors to give away the phones to low-income consumers. It works on behalf of companies like SafetyNet Wireless and Acacia Energy.

For Lifeline distribution, PayGo offers:

  • Training
  • Onboarding
  • Customer service support
  • Training kit

PayGo says that you can earn up to $3,000 per month as a distributor. Payment is twice monthly and they state that there is no limit to your earning potential. This intrigued me a little, because they also said that it was ‘up to’ $3,000 a month. This presumably means that anyone who earns more will have to be running a team. After a little further digging I found out about Master Agents (which you can read about in the next section).

To apply, you fill out a form on the site itself. This is the same on all the sites I found around the Lifeline distributor opportunity.

How to become a Lifeline phone distributor: What is a Master Agent?

PayGo offer Master Agent roles alongside standard distributor roles. This is where ambitious people could boost their income.

A Master Agent will be responsible for recruiting, training and managing a team of distributors. You’ll need to be someone who has previous sales experience, and someone who understands Lifeline and how it works. This means being able to identify areas where Lifeline could be of real impact. PayGo also expects that you understand compliance requirements. You will also need to understand the qualification requirements for distributors.

Any candidate for any position in the Lifeline industry is subject to a criminal background check.

How to become a Lifeline phone distributor and what will I do?

Here is a link to the PayGo application form. The form is pretty much the same wherever you find it online:

Once accepted as a distribution agent, you train. Then, your job is to set up a tent or sales table. Using a database, you will check the eligibility of people you see as part of daily foot traffic. Anyone who qualifies for a free phone according to the Lifeline criteria can get a free phone on the spot.

When it comes to eligibility requirements, Lifeline distributors are not expected to have any sales experience. But, it would be of great benefit. You are going to be outside approaching people with the Lifeline offer. This means having some understanding of how to sell would help. Full training is provided though.

As an agent you will set up the table and organise all the information leaflets and signage and so on. You take the customer infromtaion and input it into a web app on a tablet. Then you take photos of all the qualifying documentation for the customer. If the customer is eligible, you can give them a phone.

PayGo offers one of the highest commission structure options. The application process is simple and quick and they have years of wireless experience to call on.

There is a ton of providers out there. Try to shop around in your local area and see which has the best commission structure for you.

How to become a Lifeline phone distributor: the free cell phone program

This federal assistance program is one of the more accessible government benefit programs in the US. Let’s take a look at the Lifeline eligibility criteria and see how it has become one of the more impactful federal support programs:

On the Federal Communications Commission website, Lifeline is explained thus:

Since 1985, the Lifeline program has provided a discount on phone service for qualifying low-income consumers to ensure that all Americans have the opportunities and security that phone service brings, including being able to connect to jobs, family and emergency services. Lifeline is part of the Universal Service Fund. The Lifeline program is available to eligible low-income consumers in every state, territory, commonwealth, and on Tribal lands.

Although there have been changes to the program over the years since it began, people who meet the following requirements can recieve federal Lifeline benefits:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Medicaid
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Tribal-specific programs: Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), Head Start
  • An income of less than 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines

People who are part of Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit Programs can also recieve Lifeline support.

Being part of the National School Lunch Program (which provides a reduced-price school lunch) used to mean that you could use Lifeline but that has been removed.

There is a $9.25 monthly Lifeline discount on monthly telephone services for a low-income household, including broadband services. This also includes bundled voice services and broadband services from wireline or wireless providers. This increases to up to a $34.25 monthly discount for users on tribal lands.

California Lifeline and Texas and Oregon Lifeline customers will apply through a state program, rather than through the provider-based program. For household Lifeline services, people will have to use the National Verifier, a site that works via the user location and finds out if they are eligible. For the free cell phones, users can submit information via the distributor and find out if they qualify within minutes.

The verdict

From food stamps to discounted lunches, the US government has provided plenty of assistance to people who need it. A free cell phone is a great idea, and if you can get paid while handing out free stuff, everyone wins.

A couple of caveats though. Firstly, it can be hard work. I’ve tried this myself, and handing out free phones isn’t as clear-cut as you might think. A good piece of advice is to work on your presentation. You don’t want to be sitting there with an old, unattractive table and shout at people about how they can get a free phone. Some time spent on putting together a table or tent that looks professional means that you will likely get more foot traffic and more interested people.

Monthly phone prices are a burden to most families, and low-income families are the worst affected. Helping them out while making money is a great feeling. Personal experience has shown me that there is an average of a few hundred dollars a month if you put in hours at weekends and evenings.

This does require a positive attitude and being comfortable with the idea of ‘selling’ (even though they get the phone for free). But if you have what it takes and are prepared to make the effort, it’s a great earner.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning how to become a Lifeline phone distributor. For more income opportunities, why not try my post on ice vending machines?

Published by

Sal Ashraf

I'm a freelance writer. This site is all about getting more business, and keeping that business, whether you're a solo entrepreneur, or a large company.

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