Free Government Cell Phones for Low Income

There are providers are in every state and US territory, but all providers do not cover every state.  Our Guide will help you find the best government phone companies and plans.   Lifeline Assistance is a tremendous help to the disadvantaged community.  You will be happy to know there are dozens of companies that offer free and affordable services to low-income consumers.  You can find free government phones with touch screens, companies that offer smartphones, how to replace a lost or stolen phone and which phones are compatible with your Lifeline government provider.


What is the Free Government Phone Program?

The Free government cell phone program has been in existence for decades and sometimes referred to as the Obama phone, which is inaccurate, as the program began under the Bush Administration.  The free government cell phone program is

  • A federal incentive that provides free cell phone and landline services to low-income residents
  • It is available to U.S. residents that qualify financially 
  • It is also available to those who receive government assistance 
  • Additionally, it is available when you live in a state where a free cell phone provider-operated

If you meet these standards, you may be eligible to get a free phone and free minutes for as long as your income does not go above the US Poverty Guidelines.  (see the US Poverty Guidelines  chart below).  There is much to learn about the free government cell phone program.  Find out how to apply for free cellular service, who offers Smartphones, how to replace a lost or stolen phone and more.  

What is Lifeline Assistance?

You may have heard the term “Lifeline” in reference to the government cell phones.  Lifeline assistance is a government program that helps low-income consumers obtain free and discounted phone service.  See how easy it is to apply and qualify for a cell phone, or Smartphone. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is funded by taxes charged on all telephone bills (Universal Service Fund).

The program began to assist the disadvantaged rural communities with affordable phone service.  Today Lifeline offers free and discount cell phone service and discount Internet plans that help millions of families, students, and seniors.   Having Internet access is not a luxury but a necessity!  To find out how to get Broadband Internet for under $10 a month, click here.



What States Offer Free Government Phones?

You can find free government phones and providers in every state and US, Indian Land and  Territories.  Qualification varies slightly from state to state.  Financial eligibility is pretty standard throughout the U.S.  You must receive assistance from federal programs.  You can join this program if you receive WIC,  (Food Stamps) Medicaid, Section 8 or SSI.  You also qualify if your income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

What Are The Top Free Government Phone Providers

Some of the tops cell phone companies are,

  • Safelink Wireless – 1000 free minutes, unlimited texting Wifi, Smartphones, 1 GB Data
  • QLinkwireless –  1000 free minutes, Wifi, unlimited texting, Smartphones, I GB Data
  • Assurance Wireless – 350 minutes, 2GB, unlimited texting, free Android Smartphone
  • Access – 1000 Minutes Talk, Unlimited Text and 50 MB Data
  • StandUp Wireless –  Free Smartphone and free minutes.

What Are the Best Free Government Cell Phones?

It is difficult to say what is the best free government phone.  It will depend on what you are looking for in a free phone provider.  Most Lifeline providers offer free phones and minutes.  Some providers offer smartphones and Androids and BYOP programs. It is important to choose a phone that is right for you.

How Can I Get A Free Government Phone?

There are free providers in every state, but every provider is not in every state. This guide features a list of phone providers showing cell phone companies near you.  You can register online, or download an application and fax or email it to the company, with proof you are eligible.  Policy rules vary, depending on the phone provider, and your state.



However, all providers give a cell phone, free minutes, texting and other benefits.  Some free cell phones are a newer model  (provider list here)  Every provider gives a free phone.  Many companies now provide free Smartphone with unlimited talk and text and free data.

How To Apply For A Free Government Phone

h2> How Do I Qualify Financially For A Free Phone?
You qualify for a government cell phone when you receive help from one of these government assistance programs.

  • Medicaid
  • Head Start
  • Food Stamps (SNAP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families  (TANF)
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • The National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Program.
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Food Distribution Program located on Indian Reservations

You may be eligible if your household income is at or below the federal poverty guidelines.

How Do I Apply for the Free Government Phone?

Qualification varies slightly from state to state.  However, financial eligibility is pretty standard throughout the U.S.  You must receive assistance from some federal programs or your income must qualify.  Find a cell phone company with a good reputation and the features you desire.  Applying for a phone is relatively simple.  There are three ways to apply for a free phone and service.

  1.  Go to their website to apply online
  2.  Apply by fax or
  3.  Regular mail
  4.  Sign up with a representative at an outside sales tent

Submit proof of eligibility when you apply.  Your application will be reviewed.  They will contact you by email, robocall or letter to notify you that you have been approved, denied, or that they need further documentation.

Are there Any Lifeline Program Restrictions?

There Are Restrictions with the Lifeline Assistance Program

  • Must provide proof of financial eligibility.
  • Only one household at a time can participate in the program.
  • Participants must live in areas where government companies operate
  • Enrollees must recertify eligibility every year or lose your service
  • You must also inform you provider within 30 days of any change in income or address

What Document Are Needed to Prove Eligibility

To prove eligibility, present one  of the following documents when applying,

  • Recent Federal Tax Return (W-2 Forms)
  • A letter from Unemployment
  • Child Support letter
  • Workman’s Compensation letter
  • Payroll statements or current check stubs from your job
  • Department of Social Services letter
  • SNAPS, Veteran’s Administration,
  • Social Security Benefits letter

At one time you did not have to provide any proof of income.  What could go wrong with that, right?  There have been issues with fraud, waste, and abuse by providers and consumers.   Applicants are required to provide proof of income or enrollment in an assistance program.

20 thoughts on “Free Government Cell Phones for Low Income

  1. Ross Phipps

    My phone was stolen i cant afford a new phone now i guess i gpt nothing!!!! Not sure what to do

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