How to Get Free Cell Phone Service

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Apply for free phone assistance.   We have received many responses from people asking how to apply for free government cell phone assistance from Lifeline. Yes, the information is already on our site, but we decided to show you step-by-step how to request and receive free cell phone assistance.  The Lifeline program provides help to low-income families struggling to maintain their households.

They have been giving away free phone service since the 1980s.  The program initially gave discounts and landline phone services and helped with deposits on new phone service.  Today if you qualify for Lifeline assistance, you can receive help with either a home or a cell phone.  

With a free phone, you can use the money you save to pay other essential bills.  You also have the peace of mind knowing you can contact others for personal or professional purposes.  Some companies even offer smartphones.  So if you need a little help, keep reading.

First Choose your Phone Company

First, find out how to apply for free phone assistance in your state. Each state has several free government phone providers. You may also want to do a little research to find out what others have to say about the company you choose.  Google the phone company you choose and look for a review.  All free phone providers are not the same.  You want to choose someone who has excellent customer service and gives you the ability to upgrade your phone or service plan.

Once you pick your phone provider, go to their website to apply.   If you are eligible, you will receive an automated telephone call, email, or letter.  If you receive aid from a government program, you must provide proof of participation.  Proof of eligibility is necessary to prevent fraud and waste.  Fraud on the side of the provider and consumer puts the program in danger.

Apply for Free Phone Assistance

Go to your provider website and look for the words “Apply” to fill out an application.   This application form will require personal information like:

  • First and last name
  • Give your Address
  • Your Date of Birth
  • Why your qualify (SNAP, TANF, SSI, WIC, Medicaid, Free Lunch Program, etc.)
  • The last four numbers of your social security number

Qualifying Financially for Free Cell Phone Assurance

If you apply for free cell phone assistance and do not receive government assistance, you must meet specific financial criteria.  Your household’s income must be at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.  Types of documents they accept:

  • A current Federal Tax Return
  • Social Security benefits letter
  • A recent copy of your W-2 forms
  • Veterans Administration benefits letter.
  • Child Support documents
  • A letter from Unemployment/Workman’s Compensation
  • A payroll statement or current check stubs from your job

What Next?

After you have submitted your application, they will process, verify your documentation and notify you when approved.   You are only one Lifeline phone for each household.    If this policy is broken, you may be removed from the program and not allowed to apply for services. When approved for free phone assistance, you should receive your new phone in about ten business days.

If your phone provider cannot verify your, they will contact you to inform you there has been a TPIV failure.  You will merely have to provide another type of document.  Once that is approved, you can receive your phone.

Other types of acceptable documents 

  • Birth certificate
  • Military discharge papers
  • Current passport
  • Driver’s license (unexpired)
  • Social Security card
  • Naturalization papers
  • Tribal Identification

Activating your phone

Find free phone assistance near you. Once you receive your phone, there should be a flying explaining how to activate your phone.  If you have any problems using your new phone, call your phone provider for assistance.  If you run out of your monthly minutes, or you want to change your phone plan, your provider can help you with this as well.

Other Lifeline Programs

Discount Internet

Lifeline also now offers a discount on broadband services as well. (see discount Internet services). Unbelievable as it may seem, many families still do not have computers or the Internet.  Thirty-four percent of seeking employment in the U.S. believe the Internet is a necessary tool when looking for work.

Forty-eight percent of Americans make under $25,000 a year and don’t have the Internet.  There is no getting around it; broadband access is a necessary resource for everyone.

Today many families participate in the Lifeline program and receive cellular phone service courtesy of the U.S. government.   If you receive assistance from a government program, you may qualify for a free cell phone plan. If you are working, check US Poverty Guideline to see if you are eligible.  These benefits are available to anyone who qualifies financially.

You May Also Want to Read

Free Government Cell Phone Providers List


9 Replies to “How to Get Free Cell Phone Service

  1. I want to upgrade for free smartphone and having problems doing so. HELP!!!!

    1. If you want to update to a smartphone depending on the phone company you use. If your company now gives smartphones but did not when you were first signed up, you may have to purchase a smartphone. Please call you provider to find out what their policy is.

  2. Please send a application in the mail to: Jermaine Banks107 N. New Mexico Drive Pensacola,Florida 32505

    1. Hello, Brenda. Call Safelink and let them know you lost your phone pay a small few to get a replacement.

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