Lifeline Eligibility – How to Qualify for a Free Government Phone

By | December 15, 2016

Lifeline Eligibility.  Lifeline assistance works to help low-income working families and the poor have an equal opportunity to phone services.   These phone make the different between being isolated and being able to connect with friends and loved ones.

Many disadvantaged families are qualified to receive help with free phone service.   With the phone plan you receive a sell phone and monthly minutes or landline service.   You do not automatically get one because you are eligible.   There have been problems in the program with  fraud and abuse.

Today if you want a free government phone, you will have to prove eligibility.  Lifeline eligibility can be proved, by providing documentation of you financial status, or your involvement in a government assistance program.   

This helps to make sure only those who eligible receive a phone.   Part of this is because the phone company received a credit for each person they  phone providers used the lack of documentation as an opportunity to receive more money from the government.

 Who is Eligible?

 You may be eligible if you receive help from a government agency like Medicaid or,


  • 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

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

How to Find a Phone Company

Once you have all you paperwork in order,  locate a no-cost phone provider in your state.  Do a little research, because all states do not implement the program the exact same way.  Some companies charge a small fee, some partially pay for your some service, but most offer totally free phone benefits. 

You also what to check online for reviews of the phone provider you are considering getting your phone from.   There have been some providers that receive many complaints and long waiting times to get help.  Because the phone is free, doesn’t mean you do not deserve great customer service.

Many providers use an automated system, that can be very frustrating, when you want to talk to a living, breathing person.  If you are comfortable with the benefits they offer and the minutes they provide, sign up on their website or call to request an application be sent to you. 


What Documents you Need

  • A Statement from the following: Department of Social Services or SNAPS, Veteran’s Administration, Social Security Benefits.
  • A current Federal Tax Return
  • A letter from Unemployment/Workman’s Compensation
  • A payroll statement or current check stubs from your job

If you do not have the proof needed to apply, contact the agency the government assistance agency for the necessary documentation the same day, if you go in person.  Contact the phone provider you are applying with, to find out exactly what documentation you need.   In some cases, you can submit online, or go into a provider store.

When you are approved, you will receive an email, or letter that you are eligible to receive a free government cell phone.  If all you documentation is in order, you should receive a phone in 7 – 10 business days.

NEXT:  How to Find Cell Phone Provider




19 thoughts on “Lifeline Eligibility – How to Qualify for a Free Government Phone

  1. LIDIA PENA

    deseo comunicarme con alguien que able español

  2. LIDIA PENA

    por favor he perdido mi celular deseo renplasarlo por otro

  3. kayla reynolds

    hi my name is kayla and my phone will not stay charge and the battery is going bad is there a way that i can get a new one.

  4. Kelly

    Phone Safelink they will send a re[lacement.

  5. cindy cherpes

    i need to replace a safelink phone how do i do it

  6. Virginia Ramsey

    I would like to know if you are offering a Free Phone to seniorcitizens that are retired and are on a fixed income.
    I received social security and pension once a month. My husband passed away last August 2016 suddenly and left me strapped for money. I am with consumer cellular and I am paying for a flip phone and it is setting me back a few dollars which I certaInly do not have to put out. Please respond as soon as possible. Thank you

    1. Free Government Phones Post author

      Hello, Virginia. You can get a free phone and service when you qualify financially. Assurance Wireless offers Android Smartphones and has pretty current phone models. Go to their website to apply.

  7. dyreese reeder

    I have lost my phone and I was trying to see how to get another one? My name is Dyreese Reeder 502 wildwood drive park forest, Ill 60466.. I received the link card

  8. pauline L seAy

    I have a lifeline phone but I don’t know how to get my mins

  9. dorotea herrera

    I have safe link but get signal.is liile line the same?if not I like to switch I do qualified

    1. Pamela Wilson-Lipscomb Post author

      Hello, Dorotea. If you don’t like the phone you have now, most tracfones work with SafeLink service. You can buy them at Wal-Mart, drugstores, supermarkets etc.

  10. Linda Mhoon

    I like to get a flip phone replacement because, I don’t have the lasat phone . can u please send me a replacement phone ..enrollment number 15702637 series number 013294000776256 please help me

  11. kenneth patrick

    i put in for a reach out wireless government cell phone and haven’t had it shipped out . i sent in proof of my eligibility of food stamps and i haven’t had a reply concerning if i am eligible to receive the assistance or not

    1. Pamela Wilson-Lipscomb Post author

      Kenneth, you are eligible if you receive food stamps. Call the company to find out the status of your order.

    1. Pamela Lipscomb Post author

      Call the company you have your cell phone service with to get your number.

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