In the same way that it is possible to get free internet with the help of the government , it is also possible to get free cell phones from the United States government for low-income families.

However, not everyone can access this government assistance . As with other assistance programs, such as Food Stamps or WIC Supplemental Assistance , the applicant must meet certain requirements to be declared a beneficiary. Let’s see below what are the options to get free cell phones from the government

Government free phone program for low-income families

There is currently a government program called Lifeline Assistance that partners with several of the major wireless carriers to provide free phones and services to qualifying families. Free government phones for low-income families

It is true that you will not be able to receive an iPhone or other high-end cell phone, and you will not receive network coverage from the large cell phone companies because they do not work with the Lifeline Assistance program , but there are these:

  • Wireless Assurance
  • Cintex Wireless
  • Copper Valley Wireless
  • EasyWireless
  • enTouch Wireless
  • FeelSafe Wireless
  • ICG
  • Infiniti Mobile
  • LifeWireless
  • NewPhone Wireless
  • q-link
  • Safelink Wireless
  • SafetyNet Wireless
  • StandUpWireless
  • Tag Mobile
  • Tempo Communications
  • Terracom Wireless
  • TruConnect
  • TrueWireless

To find out which carrier provides coverage in your area, enter your zip code at this link .

Next we will see how to apply for a free cell phone from the government and what are the requirements that you must meet.

How to apply for a free cell phone from the government?

For starters, if you’re already enrolled in a government assistance program , you could apply for a free cell phone from the US government through the Lifeline Assistance program . Those who are already enrolled in one of the following programs can opt for it:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Medicaid
  • Federal assistance for public housing
  • Tribal Specific Programs: Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribal Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), Head Start

You may also qualify based on your family’s income. If you are unemployed, you can use your Unemployment Benefit Letter as proof of eligibility until 6/30/22.

If you are not enrolled in any of those government programs, you will need to show that your income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines . For example, if you’re the only person in your household and you want to get a free phone from the US government, you’ll need to show that you earn less than $12,760 a year.

Each additional person in your household increases the limit by another $4,480 , so essentially the more people you have in your household, the easier it is to qualify for a free cell phone from the government and a cheap cell phone plan.

How do I claim and prove my family income to the government?

You’ll need to provide pay stubs, a W-2 form , or a letter from the government agency you’re enrolled with to prove your household income. Fortunately, the application process for free mobile phone service is quite simple: just go to the website of a mobile phone company that participates in the program.

For example, if you want to check out Assurance Wireless , there’s a big “Apply Now” button in the middle. Just follow the instructions and you should find out if you qualify for a cell phone and cell phone plan pretty quickly.

Who can apply for Lifeline Assistance?

Although the state recognizes that access to the Internet and communications is essential – so much so that some non-governmental organizations have classified it as a human right – it would be unfair to give a cell phone full of minutes and hours of browsing to anyone who requests it . After all, the federal budget is not capable of covering a global aid program, that is, universal access. In addition, there are several families who can afford this expense without putting their personal or food security at risk.

That is why assistance programs are driven by what is known as eligibility requirements . In this way, you can help those who really need it and provide them with the best possible service.

 

Eligibility Requirements for Lifeline Assistance

The initiative that the federal government has launched to provide landlines or smartphones at no cost is mainly designed for families living near the poverty line . Now, this leaves us with a question: how does the government determine that a family is poor, middle class or millionaire? Could a person who can’t buy the latest iPhone be considered someone who needs government help?

Federal Poverty Guidelines

With these, you can find out the financial situation of a person or family easily and without complications, and with a fairly small margin of error.

The Federal Poverty Guidelines do not define what is an income, a family, or a household; since the authorities consider that several definitions can be applied to these terms. What it does do is allow administrators of assistance programs – in this case, Lifeline – to choose a certain group of people as beneficiaries .

Calculation of your household income

So the first thing you need to do to find out whether or not you qualify for a free mobile phone with Lifeline is to calculate your household income . A household is considered to be made up of a group of people who live in a particular property. This definition includes relatives or people who are not related, as long as they all share the same space, in addition to the costs of housing, food, etc.

Family income, on the other hand, will include: all wages, interest, dividends, spousal or child support amounts, rent, stipends, Social Security income, pensions, gambling winnings or prizes lottery; this to give just a few examples.

Now that you know what a household is and what the income is, it’s time to do the math. To qualify for Lifeline you must show that your total annual household income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty level . This rule applies to all states, except those where this limit is calculated at 150% (such as California, for example).

Are there more eligibility requirements to access free cell phones from the government?

Yes. Although people generally choose to calculate their income to see if they qualify or not, there are other ways to access the Lifeline program. Which? If you or any member of your family is enrolled in any of the other government assistance programs. Just by meeting this condition you could access a free phone without having to calculate annual income.

Here is a list of the main federal and state assistance programs that would allow you to qualify for Lifeline :

  • Medicaid
  • Social Security Supplements (SSI)
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • Veterans pension or survivor benefits
  • Tribal TANF (Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)
  • Food stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP)
  • FPHA, better known as Section 8 (Federal Public Housing Assistance)
  • Head Start (only those households that meet the income qualifying standard)

You may also qualify if your child or dependent participates in one or more of the assistance programs listed above.