Low-income young adults as well as current and former foster youths will now be able to get free or very low-cost cell phone plans thanks to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The state agency has expanded their emergency phone program so it now includes wireless devices. This now makes it possible for young adults to get cell phone access for free or for as little as $5 a month.
How does it work?
Free cell phones will be offered to anyone who is between the ages of 18 and 26 and receiving benefits from MediCal or CalWorks. The free plan will include up to 1,000 minutes of cell phone use and also provide limited texting service. All foster youth 18 and older will qualify since the Affordable Care Act allows them to be eligible for Medicaid until they are 26.
For other low-income young adults, plans are available as low as $5 to $8 a month. These plans include unlimited monthly cell phone minutes and texting.
The cell phone service is an important benefit to foster youth, and especially low-income youth in foster programs. It enables them to stay in contact with their caregivers, and their caseworkers. Many foster youths and low-income youth cannot afford wireless devices. The new CPUC expanded program will now enable them to stay close to family and other important contacts in their network.