Cell Phones for Seniors - Lifeline in an Emergency!

Free and Low-Cost Cell Phone Solutions

Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida demonstrate the life-saving ability that cell phones bring in a disaster. For seniors who only want a cell phone for emergency use or occasional calls, there are several inexpensive, no-contract plans to choose from.

Prepaid, No-Contract Plans

Prepaid cell phone service means you buy a phone one-time (costing anywhere from $10 to $100) and combine it with a prepurchased block of minutes (talk or text). The minutes must be used within a specific period of time indicated in the company’s plan. Also known as pay-as-you-go phones, there’s no contract, monthly bills, credit checks or hidden costs.

The biggest cell phone providers, such as AT&T and Verizon, offer inexpensive prepaid plans. However, some of the best deals are offered by nimble competitors such as TracFone, T-Mobile, Net10, Cricket and Virgin Mobile.


The best deal for occasional users goes to T-Mobile’s pay-as-you-go plan. Customers get 30 minutes of talk, 30 texts or any combination of minutes and texts that add up to 30 for only $3/mo. After that, additional minutes and texts are $.10/each so you pay only for what you use. Bring an old, compatible phone to use with their network or purchase a new one starting at $75.


Starting at $19.99 to purchase the phone, and $10/mo. for cell phone service, TracFone’s pay-as-you-go plan provides 90 minutes of talk, text and Web access for 30 service days.


Senior-Friendly Phones with Big Buttons and Ease-of-Use Features

Another option to standard cell phones are senior-friendly phones. These cell phones combine big buttons with simplified features to keep your loved ones connected with family.

Jitterbug Flip Phone

The Jitterbug Flip Phone for Seniors is a popular phone priced at $74.99 Calling plan cell phone service starts at $19.99/mo. and includes 5Star Urgent Response and several health and safety applications.

Doro Senior-Friendly Phone

The Doro cell phone from Consumer Cellular is another senior-friendly, simplified cell phone priced at $50. Call plans begin at $15/mo. for 250 minutes. There’s even a 5% discount off monthly phone service for AARP members.


Totally Free Phones

SafeLink Wireless

SafeLink Wireless provides a free cell phone and free airtime each month to keep your mom or dad connected. To qualify, seniors must show they are receiving Medicaid, Food Stamps, SSI or have a household income at or below 135 percent of the poverty line. Call 800-378-1684 or visit www.safelink.com to learn more or apply.

Lifeline Assistance

Lifeline Assistance provides low-income seniors the ability to have modern cell phone service at no cost. The program provides free cell phones and free cell phone service for qualified seniors. Go to www.freegovernmentcellphone.net for more information.

911-Only Communications

Free 911-only communications is available through the 911 Cell Phone Bank. The 911 Cell Phone Bank provides phones to senior citizens or victims of abuse for making emergency calls to their local 911 service provider. The phone and service are free to qualified individuals. Visit http://www.911cellphonebank.org for more information on the program.

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