5 Steps to Getting A Free Cell Phone from the Government

By | March 18, 2019

We are often asked, “How do I get a free phone from the government?”  Well, there are dozens of Lifeline cell phone providers, all across the United States.   You have access to phone upgrades and smartphones to choose from.  If you meet the financial guidelines, you are eligible to be accepted into the Lifeline program.  There are many hard-working people living in the United States.  They work 40 or more hours a week and still struggle to care for their families.

Assurance Wireless, Reachout Wireless, and SafeLink Wireless are just some of the phone companies working with the Lifeline program to provide free cell phones and minutes to the public.  A free government phone is one of the programs that can help these residents get access to a phone.  Poverty should never be a judgment about a person, merely a description of one’s financial status.  If you are working, low-income, disabled or elderly, you may qualify for a free government phone.

How to Get a Free Phone from the Government

Step One

Determine if you are eligible for free phone service.  This is determined by your gross family income or if you are presently receiving assistance from a government program or your income qualifies according to the U.S. Poverty Guidelines.

Step Two

Check to see which providers are in your state. Once you locate a provider in your state, Google the company to see the reviews about the company. Just type in the name of the company followed by the word reviews.  New providers are popping up everywhere. You can look at our list of cell phone providers, or go the FCC website for more information.  Do a quick Google search on the provider you are interested in.  If you read a lot of complaints, don’t get discouraged, check out provider on the list in your area.

Step Three

When you find a company you like, go to their website to see the different plans they offer you. Some companies have promotions and offer extra benefits to new applicants.  Today some are offering 1000 free minutes, as well as better cameras, Data and Wi-fi.  This is a big improvement over the first phones government phones that were very small and basically had no updated features.

(Find a Cell Phone Provider in  your state.)

Step Four

When you have made your choice it is time to apply.  You can usually apply online, Fax or by mail. When you apply for a free cell phone, it is required that you submit documents to prove you are eligible to receive a free cell phone.  You will need to provide proof of identity, address, and income status.  Read more below.  

Step Five

Wait for notice of your application status.  When your application is approved or disapproved, you will receive an automatic phone call or an email followed by a letter. Receiving your phone should take from seven to ten day. Some have reported a longer waiting period.

How Can I Get A Free Phone

  You can get a free cell phone when,

  • You fall within or below federal poverty guidelines, you qualify
  • No one else in your home is receiving Lifeline phone service
  • You live in a state where the program is offered
  • You receive assistance from a government poverty program.

You may be eligible to get a free cell phone if you receive

  • Medicaid,
  • Food Stamps  (SNAP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • The National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Program

You may also qualify for a free government phone if you work and your gross monthly or yearly income is at or below 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Some Free Cell Phone Benefits

  • Up to 1000 free cell phone minutes
  • Free texting
  • Data
  • Wifi
  • Camera
  • Long distance
  • International
  • Voice mail
  • Call forwarding

You Must Prove Eligibility to Get a Free Phone

There has been fraud and waste associated with the government phone program.  New measures have been put into place in the attempt to curtail losses.  When you apply for assistance, you must provide, proof of physical address, proof of income such as current payroll stubs, W-2 forms, and documentation from the government program, you are receiving help.  Proof of eligibility can be faxed, emailed or updated to the cellular company you are applying with.

Which Phone do you Recommend?

All the phone are similar in appearance and features.  Look for the providers operating in your state and compare companies.  Basically, the decision is yours.   Almost all offer free cell phone and minutes.  You may conveniently purchase more time, online, by phone or by purchasing a Tracfone phone care at many convenient locations. Reachout Wireless, however, does allow you to transfer a current cell phone number to your free phone.

How to Apply for a Free Cell Phone

Go to the website of the provider you are interested in, and fill out an application, also submit proof of identity and financial status.  Acceptable documentation includes payroll stubs, letter of unemployment benefits, letter from government programs you are receiving help from, Disability benefits, W-2 forms from the previous year.

Online enrollment is quick and easy. You can also call to request an application be sent to you to mail back. If you receive help from a government poverty agency, you will most likely qualify. Once you submit your application, your application will be reviewed and if approved, you will receive an email response or phone call.

It will take up to 10 business days to receive you a new phone with accessories.  Some providers now offer older model smartphones.  Locate a free cell phone company in your area

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