Tips to save money on telephone service and equipment.
TELEPHONE EQUIPMENT – SPECIAL
If you are visually impaired or hard of hearing, check to see what programs are available in your area. My mother can only read large print, and she was able to get a large button phone at no cost. In California, you can get large button phones and/or amplified phones free through the CTAP program by calling 1-800-806-1191 (voice) or 1-800-806-4474 (TTY) or www.ddtp.org . You will be sent a form for your doctor to certify that you have vision/hearing issues and then you can order the style of phone equipment you need. They also provide the battery packs at no charge.
If you have a lot of telephone cords with broken jacks, it may be worth your while to repair them yourself. You can pick up a repair tool (looks like a cross between pliers and a wrench) and spare jacks at your local electronics store. You will need to pick up both sizes of jacks unless the broken ones are all the same size. (Wall jack is one size, jack into phone handset is slightly smaller.)
Check with your local carrier to see what is available. Since my mother has trouble seeing (certified by doctor for CTAP program), PacBell set her up with unlimited free directory assistance calls (since she can’t read the directory print), and 20 speed dial numbers (we can program) so she doesn’t have to try to read the buttons to dial frequently called numbers. We post a list of the speed dial codes by the phone.
Service Options – Special Rates
Check the front of your directory for special service programs. AT&T offers a couple Lifeline monthly service options for those with financial issues. You can qualify through either income or assistance. If your income is below a certain level, you can apply. You can also apply and qualify if anyone in your household receives assistance from certain government programs such as SSI or SNAP. You are limited to one phone line per household qualifying for this program, unless another person in the household uses TTY. In that case, they may also apply for qualification on their separate line.
Call 800-446-5651 (English) or go to www.ATT.com/Lifeline for a complete listing of ways to qualify. You will then need to call 800-288-2020 to request an application.
Lifeline Information in other languages – check the front of your telephone directory for the number to call for information in: Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Korean, Tagalog, Japanese, Russian, Polish, or Arabic.
PENNY WISE AND POUND FOOLISH
Many people are going to just a cell phone and giving up their home land lines to save money.
Do you really want to worry about signal strength and dropped calls in a medical emergency?
The 911 service can find your actual location from a land line even if you accidentally hang up; where cell phones may not only drop your call, but are routed through a signal tower which is the only location the 911 service can see.
Don’t forget, land lines also continue to work in a power outage.