Since 2009, there has been an urban myth that President Obama created a program to provide free phones to low-income Americans at taxpayer expense. There is a rumor that Obama is distributing new cellphones and pre-paid minutes to welfare recipients.
According to Fact-Check, the U.S. federal government does not offer such a program, and, although low-income households have long been eligible for discounted phone services, it is funded by telecommunications companies, not taxes... and the American president has nothing to do with it.
The U.S. State and Federal government has a program that provides free cellphones and free talk time to people with low income as well as senior citizens. This subsidized program is called Lifeline phones assistance program.
As The New York Times notes in an editorial, the Obama administration does not pass out free phones for votes. There is however a national program that provides low-income people with free or discounted phones, but it was started under George W. Bush, Obama's Republican predecessor. The two programs are: Lifeline and Link-Up America - (Eligibility and type of program can vary from state to state)
Provides discounts on basic monthly service at a primary residence for qualified telephone customers up to $10.00 per month, or more for certain Native Americans. Generally, to qualify, your income needs to be at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines. If you, or members in your household are, receiving the following benefits you automatically qualify for the Lifeline program.
More information - https://www.disabled-world.com/communication/usf.php
Assists telecommunications consumers with the installation costs of phone services. This program pays up to $30 of the cost of installation and up to $200 in the form of a one year, interest-free loan for extra installation costs. More information - www.fcc.gov
These services are provided by government approved companies. The three major companies are Safelink Wireless (a government supported program that provides a free cell phone and air-time each month for income-eligible customers), Assurance Wireless and ReachOut Wireless.
There are still 64.5 million (U.S.) people without a connection to the Internet and that figure hits hardest on those with the lowest incomes. Cheap broadband Internet plans have been created by public-private partnerships, to bring high-speed, wireless Internet access to those on government assistance such as disability benefits, or who have low-income. Further information can be found in our article; Cheap Internet for Disabled, Seniors and Low-Income Americans.
In conclusion there is free phone assistance available to people who qualify - but it is not an Obama administration program. American taxpayers do support the program but not through federal income taxes. Over 8 million Americans have already signed up for the Lifeline program and up to 35% of Americans are qualified.
Caution: Scammers have been spreading text messages promising that the president will cover your bill in full, and all you have to do to take advantage of this amazing deal is to send your account number to a bank account number included in the text. Don't do it!