New discount phone service for eligible families in Fla.

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Imagine looking for a job and not having access to a phone to find out if you're wanted for a second interview. Millions across America face that obstacle yearly, and Florida is working toward making sure everyone has a phone no matter how much money they make.

From days gone by when there were four families to one phone, to one family with four phones, the need to stay connected is as important now as ever before.

That's why Mamie Barber attended a kick off event for the National Lifeline Awareness Week.

"I know for myself, being a low income family, this program will help me," Barber said.

The purpose of the meeting is to get these applications into the hands of low-income families so they can stay connected with others.

Over the next week a number of events will be held across the state, making sure everyone can stay in touch.

"There are a lot of benefits for having this cell phone, for those who need it," said Tammy Johnston from Assurance Wireless.

Statewide, more than one million Floridians need assistance to get phone services. An increase of almost 10 percent from 2012.

"It's a program that is growing, that recognizes the financial situation many families are in today," said Public Service Commission Chairman Ronald A. Brise.

Senator Bill Montford said everyone who is eligible for the program should get a phone.

"This is an effort today to provide that service to the people who need it," Montford said. "The one's under financial stress at this point."

For Barber, she says it doesn't matter how much money you have, having access to a phone is needed for all.

"Don't judge us because where we live at or anything else, because we're all still human," Barber said.

The discount service costs $111 a year. The program allows qualifying families to get either a landline or cellphone.

Click here to find out if you or your family members are eligible.

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