Free government phones are available to qualified U.S. consumers. Free government phones help many low-income families, seniors and the disabled. There are dozens of regional and national free government phone companies in each state who provide free and affordable cell phone service and minutes to low-income consumers. The Lifeline program offers phones from popular providers like Safelink Wireless, Qlink Wireless, and Assurance Wireless.
A free government phone gives you the freedom and peace of mind, that comes with having a reliable means of communication. They help eliminate fear and isolation as well. These phones are also a way of contacting the rescue and abuse hotlines for battered women. Cell phones are not a luxury; they are a necessity. More about us.
Lifeline Free Government Phone Program
The Lifeline is a federal government-mandate program that helps low-income consumers with free phone service. Lifeline sponsored companies in the U.S. help low-income families stay connected. See how easy it is to apply and qualify for a free government phone, and even Smartphone and data depending on the provider. Lifeline is the FCC’s program that helps low-income individuals and families with affordable landline and cell phone service.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is funded by taxes charged on all telephone bills (Universal Service Fund). The program began as a way to assist the impoverished and rural communities with affordable phone service. Today the government provides affordable phone service nationwide and includes cell phones and broadband service.
Since this is a federally-mandated program started, there have been many changes. The cell phone program began with providing 67 minutes a month of free phone service, then grew to 500 and even up to 1,000 free talk and text minutes with data.
Low-Income Households may qualify for Free Government Phones
Some of the top free government cell phone companies are Safelink Wireless, Qlink Wireless, Access, Budget, Assist and many more. (provider list here) Every provider gives a free phone. Many companies now provide free Smartphone with unlimited talk and text and free Data.
You qualify if you receive:
- 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.
Rules for Government Phone Enrollees
- You 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
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 that 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 access to broadband is a necessary resource for everyone.
Today many families participate in Lifeline program and receive cellular phone service courtesy of the U.S. government. If you receive government benefits, you may qualify for a free cell phone plan. Are you are working? Check US Poverty Guideline to see if you are eligible. These benefits are available to anyone who qualifies financially.
Free Cell Phone Companies
You can find free government phones in every state and US Territory. Qualification varies slightly from state to state, but financial eligibility is pretty standard throughout the U.S. You must receive assistance from federal programs such as WIC, (Food Stamps) Medicaid, Section 8 or SSI. You also qualify if your income is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Find out if you are eligible here.
You also qualify if you receive help from
- Head Start
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Food Distribution Program located on Indian Reservations
How to find Free Cellular Phone Service
There are free providers in every state, but every provider is not in every state. Check out our providers listing to find a cell phone provider near you. Find a phone company in your city, that offers free cell phone plans. 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. But all will provide you with a cell phone, free minutes or more, text messaging, call waiting, voice mail, long distance, and a charger.
UPDATE: Because of issues of fraud, you are now required to provide proof of income or enrollment in an assistance program. To prove eligibility, present one of the following documents when applying:
- A current Federal Tax Return (W-2 Forms)
- A letter from Unemployment
- Workman’s Compensation letter
- A payroll statement or current check stubs from your job
- A Statement from the following: Department of Social Services or SNAPS, Veteran’s Administration, Social Security Benefits.
Find out what cellular phone service and other programs, are available to help you during this difficult financial season.