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Free Government Cell Phones for Low Income families

Free Government Cell Phones for Low Income families

Free Government Cell Phones for Low-Income families: Needless to say, smartphone and internet connectivity have become a crucial aspect of all of our lives especially after the covid-19 pandemic. Almost all the everyday activities shifted to the online mode of communication, be it education or work. Since then the importance of Smartphones and internet services has been unmatched. However, it is not affordable for everyone to buy smartphone and pay for internet service plans on a regular basis. This leads to the problem of digital divide.

Hence, to help low income families and less fortunate students to get access to technology, internet services and smartphones, the government has various telecommunication services assistance programs such as the Lifeline assistance program, the Emergency Broadband Benefits program, and Affordable Connectivity Program. 

Everyone irrespective of their economic background should be able to access these basic services that are in need of today without having to cut on other essential needs. The Lifeline assistance program offers free government smartphones as well as use discounts on monthly internet service plans, bundled packages, and various other services.

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What is the Lifeline Assistance Program?

The Lifeline Assistance Program is a telecommunication services assistance program that is administered by the FCC. This Federal program is run with the objective to help low-income families and needy people to get access to smartphones, cell phone service plans, and internet service plans. 

The participants of the lifeline program get a discount on monthly Cellphone service plans as well as broadband internet services or bundled broadband packages that they have purchased from a lifeline service provider. Not just that but some lifeline providers also offer free government smartphones.  

A lot of low-income families and less fortunate students have to miss out on various opportunities that they could get by using the internet services, which are a need of today.

The lifeline assistance program helps needy people to get affordable services and internet connectivity along with free smartphones and other smart devices such as laptops, tablets, etc. 

If you want to know how to get free government smartphone, eligibility for lifeline program, how to apply for lifeline assistance program, then go through the below-mentioned detailed guide

How to get Free Government Cell Phones for Low-Income families

Given below is a detailed guide on lifeline assistance program eligibility criteria, documents that would be required  to apply for lifeline assistance, and the step by step guide on how to apply for free government phones.

Go through each of these sections carefully and if you still have any doubts, you can refer to the frequently asked questions section at the end of the article or comment down your queries so we can help you out.

Eligibility Criteria for Free Government Cell Phones Program

In order to get free government smartphone, one must be eligible for the lifeline assistance program. As is the case with any of the government assistance programs, the majority of these programs Have a limited number of resources available to them. and thus it becomes crucial for the authorities to make sure that the available and Limited resources are being distributed among those who are in genuine need of them.

And so programs such as lifeline assistance programs have criteria for eligibility. Only those applicants who meet this criterion will be considered to offer free government cell phone. Given below is the detail about the lifeline assistance program eligibility criteria. You can for any updates or details on the official website of FCC. 

The FCC has a completely different system known as the National verifier to check the eligibility of the lifeline applicants. this centralized system is operated by the USAC and checks whether or not the applicants are eligible to become a member of the lifeline program. 

You can check the official website of FCC at – https://www.checklifeline.org/lifeline to see if you are eligible for the program or not. Given below are the basic requirements necessary to apply for lifeline Free government phone program – 

  • The applicant must be at least 18 years of age or above. 
  • Only one member per household will be eligible to apply for the program. The program is run on benefits per household. 
  • The applicant should have an income at or below 135% of Federal poverty guidelines or the applicant should be a participant in certain federal assistance programs. 

But that is not just it, you can also apply for the lifeline program if you need any of the below criteria of eligibility – 

  • You must be a participant and enrolled in any of the federal assistance programs such as Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, Federal public housing, Veterans assistance program, etc
  • You must be a beneficiary of the reduced price or free breakfast or lunch program.
  • You must be a participant in the federal programs for tribal lands such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs general assistance, HeadStart, TANF for tribal families, etc.
  • You must be a recipient of the federal Pell grant award in the current year.
  • You must have lost your business or job since February 29, 2020. 
  • You must be eligible to participate in any of the COVID -19 programs.

You can apply for the Lifeline assistance program by applying through any of the above criteria for eligibility. Or you will have to do is provide the documents related to or documents that prove your participation in any of these programs.

Document required to apply for Lifeline Assistance Program

As mentioned above, the applicants will be required to submit copies of their documents that prove eligibility for the lifeline program. The FCC receives a number of applications for free government cell phone programs but since they have a limited number of resources available to them, they ensure that only the Eligible people in genuine need receive the lifeline assistance. 

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To prove your eligibility for the program, you will be required to submit documents such as your identity proof, proof of physical address, proof of income, an official letter from authorities for participation in any of the Federal assistance programs, and so on. 

Given below is a list of documents that you might require while applying for lifeline assistance program how to get free government smartphone – 

  • Proof of Identity using government or other valid ID cards such as driver’s license, US Military ID, Social Security Number, passport, state ID, individual taxpayer identification number, tribal identification number, or similar government authorized identification. 
  • A document that would include your physical address such as your driver’s license, utility bill, state government or tribal ID, tax return, mortgage or released statement, or the recent W-2.
  • A document that proves your income such as – a paycheck stub, social security statement of benefits, the last year’s federal, state, or tribal tax return, current income statement from the employer, veterans administration statement of benefits, or similar documents.
  • Official documents that prove your participation in Federal assistance programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, TANF, or any of the tribal programs accepted by the FCC Lifeline. You will be required to submit a document that indicates the date of participation in the last 12 months or documents that depict the day and date in the future for the participation. 

You can check for the details about which documents will be accepted by the lifeline National verifier to get more clarity with updated details.

Keep in mind that all the documents you have submitted will be cross verified by the National Verifier with the information in have entered in your online application form. So make sure to fill out the form carefully and do not enter any information that is incorrect. Do not submit fraud documents. Otherwise, you will be barred from the Lifeline program and will not be able to get free government touch screen phone.

Note:- A very important thing to keep in mind is that when you are submitting the lifeline program application form online, you will have to submit the scanned copies of your original documents in the format prescribed which will generally be PDF or JPEG.  You will get this information by applying for the program on your official website.

And in case you are filling in the application form for applying for lifeline program via mail, then make sure to submit along with the photo copies or the xerox of your original documents. Never send your original documents through mail to anybody since that can be very risky.

How to Apply for Free Government Cell Phones program?

Assuming that you have gone through the Lifeline assistance program eligibility criteria and the benefits of this program, here is how you can apply for free government cell phones through the lifeline assistance program for low income.

There are two ways using which you can apply for this program. The first and the easier one being applying for lifeline program through the official website of FCC. Another way using which you can apply for free government cell phone is by sending a mail of physical copies of the application form to the authorities. 

Indeed the easier method to apply for lifeline assistance program is Online through the official website. Given below is a detailed step-by-step guide on how to apply for lifeline program how to get free government smartphone. 

Step 1. First of all, make sure that you are eligible for the lifeline free cell phone assistance program. We have mentioned the criteria of eligibility in the above “Eligibility Criteria for Free Government Cell Phones Program” section.

You can also check the official website of FCC for any updated changes in the criteria for eligibility. There are multiple ways using which you can be eligible for free government cell phone. However, if you are not eligible, your chances of getting a free cell phone are very less. 

Step 2. Choose a lifeline service provider that offers free cell phones and discounts on monthly internet plans and other bundle packages. Some examples of Lifeline service providers are Assurance Wireless, Q link Wireless, Safe link wireless, Trueconnect Wireless, and so on.

You can refer to this official report by FCC to know the various lifeline providers – usac.org.

Step 3. Apply for lifeline free cell phone assistance program. As mentioned above, you can apply for this program either online or via mail. However, we will suggest you apply online since it is much easier. You will have to go to the official website of FCC to apply for lifeline.

Step 4. Fill in the form on the website with correct details about you such as your name, date of birth, address, etc. Along with that make sure to submit the required documents that prove your identity, physical address, income, for participation in any of the Federal assistance programs that are accepted by the Lifeline.

Make sure to enter all the details correctly and submit documents that are genuine. All the information mentioned by you is verified by the national verifier and if any discrepancy is found, you might be debarred from the program itself. Also, so keep in mind to submit the photocopies or scanned copies of your original documents and never submit or mail your original documents.

After you are filled in the application form and submitted it, wait for a few days for the approval process to be finished. Once you get the approval by official communication, you can avail the benefits of the lifeline program to get free government cell phone.

Other Benefits of Free Government Cell Phones for Low Income

Apart from a free government cell phone, there are various other benefits of the lifeline assistance program. First and foremost, through the lifeline program, eligible households can get $9.25 monthly benefits. And along with the free smartphone from government, those eligible can get great discounts on various cell phone service plans.

This is the most fundamental benefit of the lifeline program. As you would know, there are various lifeline service providers all across the US. Some lifeline providers that offer services in one state might not be available in other states. Similarly, the types of benefits the lifeline service providers would offer you might differ from one provider to another. 

Some providers might offer you only discounts on the monthly service plans by others might additionally offer free government smartphone. However, in most cases, there are certain basic services that are offered by lifeline providers across the nation.

Given below is the minimum service standard that is required to be met by the lifeline providers and detailed information on the same – 

  • In the case of cell phone service plans, the lifeline provider must offer at least 1000 minutes to the Eligible households.
  • For mobile data, lifeline service providers will have to offer at least 2 GB of data per month with a speed of 3G or better.
  • And coming to home data, the lifeline providers will have to offer at least 1000 GB per month with a speed of 18/2 Mbps. 

The lifeline assistance program ensures that the eligible people are given complete assistance right from handling the free government cellphone to providing customer support. The Lifeline program offers the flexibility to the participants to change their provider as and when needed. 

The Eligible low-income families will also get the opportunity to select the services that can be used under the lifeline program. So, if you are buying a bundled service then you can apply for the lifeline program for either the voice call services or the Internet Data Services.

Some lifeline providers also offer the eligible participants to choose the hotspot-enabled device. Lifeline provider has at least one hotspot featured device that you will be available for internet plans and services.

In the majority of the cases, the lifeline participants will get complete customer support from the provider. If the provider refuses to help any of the lifeline participants, then you can contact the FCC or the state’s public utility regulator USAC to seek help from them. 

Just note that you will not be given a choice or option to choose from devices offered by the lifeline providers. You will get a device that is available at the moment and fits into the criteria of the lifeline programs range.

You cannot ask for any particular device or make a choice between the available devices you will have to receive whatever device is given to you. This device will definitely be in good working condition and is generally a mid-range Android smartphone.

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Providers that offer free phones & free cell phone service for low-income families

Given below are some of the most well-known network service providers that offer free phones & free cell phone service for low-income families. You can get more information about these providers below or on their official website.

  • Assurance Wireless

Assurance wireless is one of the very few nationwide service providers that provide free cell phone services all across. Assurance offers the lifeline providers free cellphone and over 500 minutes per month with unlimited text messages.

The process to apply for the Assurance wireless lifeline program is quite easy and you can check our detailed guide on How to Get Assurance Wireless Free Tablet for more information. 

  • Qlink Wireless

Qlink Wireless is yet another great network carrier that is a provider of the Lifeline Program. This provider offers free cell phone service with 1000 minutes of talk time, 3GB of internet service, and unlimited text messages. You can check our guide on Get Free Tablet by Qlink Wireless for a detailed process to apply for the Qlink Wireless service.

  • Safelink Wireless

Safelink Wireless provides free phones and free cell phone service. This wireless service is a part of the TracFone Wireless that makes use of 4 major carrier services that are – AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon. The plans offered by this provider might differ from state to state.

  • Budget Wireless

Budget Wireless is a great network carrier that offers various plans for the different customer segments according to their needs. As the name of this service provider suggests, this carrier offers plans keeping in mind the needs of various people and flexibility to the customers.

Of the various plans they offer, the basic free plan comes with 250 minutes of voice time along with 250 text messages each month. You can get further additional minutes and messages by paying $5 more. The best part of this provider is that they do not ask for any fee or contract from the customers.

  • Access Wireless

Access Wireless is a lifeline provider that uses Sprint Network to offer free cell phone service to low-income families. You can get more information about this provider through their official website. You will be required to enter your ZIP code in order to access this information.

  • American Assistance

American Assistance is yet another service provider that offers free government cell phones. They provide unlimited text messages, data, and free talk time through the T-mobile network and hence you will not have to worry about the network coverage since T-Mobile offers good coverage all across the United States.

  • Blue Jay Wireless

Blue Jay Wireless service is known to provide free government smartphones, free unlimited calling minutes, and text messages to low-income families. They also provide free data services in over 18 states of the US.

  • Reachout Wireless

Yet another well-known name in the Lifeline service providers list is Reachout Wireless. This network provider is the third largest free government cell phone provider in a number of states.

Reachout Wireless offers cell phone service plans with 125 free talk-time minutes or 250 free talk-time minutes. Additionally, you can also get features such as call forwarding, call waiting, caller ID, three-way calling, voicemail, international long distance, and select text messaging.

  • StandUp Wireless

StandUp Wireless is one of those Lifeline Providers that do not offer free smartphones but do have free cell phone service plans for eligible households. When you have your own StandUp Wireless, you will be awarded free 3GB data service, up to 1000 minutes of talk time each month, and unlimited text messages.

  • FeelSafe Wireless

FeelSafe Wireless is known to offer Obamaphone in various states such as -Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, California, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Oklahoma. You can get more information about this provider on their official website.

  • SafetyNet Wireless

SafetyNet Wireless is a lifeline network provider that gives free calling minutes, text messages as well as data services. Generally, the limit is over 350 calling minutes, unlimited text messages, and 3GB of data in most states. This network provider offers services in the states of Michigan, California, Georgia, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Kentucky.

  • TruConnect

TruConnect Wireless offers free cell phone services to eligible participants of the Lifeline Assistance Program, Emergency Broadband Benefits (EBB) Program as well as the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). One can get up to 14 GB of monthly data along with a free Android phone or Wi-Fi hotspot if they are eligible.

Apart from these, Assist Wireless, Cintex Wireless, Copper Valley Wireless, Easy Wireless, enTouch Wireless, GCI, Infiniti Mobile, Life Wireless, NewPhone Wireless, Sprocket Wireless, Tag Mobile, Tempo Communications, Terracom Wireless, etc. are various other service providers that offer free government smartphones.

How to renew Free Government Phone Service?

If you’re on a government-sponsored phone program, you’re probably wondering how to renew your free government phone service. After all, free is always good! The good news is that renewing your free government phone service is generally pretty easy to do. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to renew free government phone service:

1. Check your eligibility. The first step is to make sure you’re still eligible for the program. Eligibility requirements may have changed since you signed up for the program, so it’s important to double-check. You can usually find this information on the program’s website.

2. Gather the required documents. Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, gather any required documents. This may include proof of income, proof of residency, and more. Again, you can find this information on the program’s website.

3. Fill out the renewal application. The next step is to fill out the renewal application. This is usually available on the program’s website. Be sure to fill it out completely and accurately.

4. Submit the renewal application. Once you’ve completed the renewal application, submit it as directed. This may be online, by mail, or in person.

5. Wait for approval. The last step is to wait for the approval. This can take a few weeks. Once you’re approved, you’ll be able to renew your free government phone service.

What if I am not eligible for Free Government Cell Phone Program

If you are someone who belongs to a low income family, then you will easily be eligible to apply for free government cell phones. However, if you did not fulfill the criteria of eligibility for lifeline program, then do not worry. As there are numerous other ways using which you can be eligible for the lifeline program.

Apart from the criteria for income, which requires you to have an income of at or less than 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, there are other ways using which you can be eligible for Lifeline free government phone. You can be eligible for the Lifeline program if you are a participant in any of the certain federal assistance programs. You can check the above “Eligibility Criteria for Free Government Cell Phones Program” section to get more details. 

However, if you are not eligible for lifeline program even through these other ways, then you can try to apply for the Affordable Connectivity Program. Or, you can also try the other ways to get free touch screen government phone by going through the below section that shows other ways to get free Government smartphone.

What are the other ways to get a Free Cell Phone From Government?

In case you are not eligible for free government cell phone with Lifeline program, you can still receive a Free smartphone using different ways.

It goes without saying that not everyone would be eligible for a free government cell phone through the lifeline program since the resources available are limited in nature whereas the number of participants is very large.

But don’t worry if you could not get free smartphone from the Lifeline program, there are other ways using which you can get a free cell phone from the government. 

  • Affordable Connectivity Program

 Similar to the lifeline assistance program, the government runs programs to provide cell phone and cell phone plan assistance to low-income families such as the Affordable Connectivity Program. If you are not eligible for lifeline you can still try for the ACP program and get free government cell phone.

  • Non-Profit Organizations and Charities

There are various charities and non-profits and non-government organizations of their that offer essential services to those in need and who cannot afford them. For example, the Salvation Army, Saint Vincent de Paul, Catholic charities, Adaptive.org, Everyneon, Komputer4Kids, and various other organizations offer free phones for low-income families and other people in need.

  • Websites like Craigslist, Freecycle

There are numerous online platforms and websites such as Freecycle and Craigslist that act as a medium between people who want to sell their old used items and those in search of second-hand items at cheap prices.

If you are in need of a smartphone or cell phone, you might get free smartphone on Freecycle or Craigslist, and similar other websites. Even if they have a price tag, you will mostly find items at a very cheap price on such websites.

Many people who wish to get rid of their old phones sell or give them away on such websites. Make sure to check these websites frequently for new entries now and then.

  • Get free phone by switching carrier

There are certain network service providers out there that offer a free phone if you switch to their carrier. For instance, boost mobile service is one such carrier that gives away free smartphones when someone shifts to the boost mobile service.

Some network providers might also offer new cell phones if you sign up for their new cell phone plan. Metro by T-Mobile, Cricket Wireless, Motorola, etc. offers such services. 

  • Ask for help in the Local Church

Needless to say, Churches are one of the most helpful places to look for free smartphones for low-income and needy families. A lot of people make donations at churches which then either use them for their own purposes or donate further to those in need. You can visit the nearby local church and explain your situation and needs to the authorities and they might help you out.

  • Use Social Media

Social media is one of the platforms that you can turn to in any situation. You might be connected to your friends and acquaintances on various social media websites. You can ask them for help as well. Or you can reach out for help on various social media pages such as Reddit, Facebook Marketplace where you can search for free or cheap cell phones.


Given below are some of the most commonly asked questions related to free government smartphones. A lot of people face these questions when they are looking for ways to get free government phone. You might as well go through these questions to get more clarity on the same.

Are free phones really free For Low-Income Families?

Yes, you can get free phones for low-income families if you are eligible for the programs by the government such as Lifeline Assistance Program or ACP offer free government smartphones.

Can I Apply for Lifeline free cell phone if I don’t Belong to a low-income family?

Yes, you can still apply for Lifeline free cell phone program even if you do not belong to a low-income household.

Generally, the criteria of eligibility to apply for free government phone is nearly the same for all the states but might differ according to the states’ lifeline providers.

So it is always better to check the eligibility requirements of your state’s lifeline provider and then see if you qualify for the free government phone service or not.

What free phones Can you get with Free Government Cell Phones/Lifeline Program?

One can get various models of free phones from the lifeline program. it usually depends on the lifeline provider that you have applied for regarding the free phone you will get. it also depends on the phones available with the lifeline service provider as to which phones will be available for lifeline participants.

For instance, service providers such as TruConnect Wireless offer free phones like the NUU A3 and the ZTE Warp Elite N9518. In the case of Assurance wireless, you can expect the company to offer you various smartphones such as ZTE Prestige 2, the Kyocera Hydro Reach, and Alcatel Dawn.

In any case, the free phones offered by lifeline service providers are generally mid-range smartphones That are in good working conditions and do not cause any lags.

Are the Free Phones and Free Cell Phone service plans good?

Yes, certainly the free government phones and cell phone service plans are one of the best available options out there. It goes without saying that the cost of cell phone service plans is quite high for the good ones.

However, if we compare the prices of those plans with Lifeline providers’ plans and services, then the lifeline service providers offer great service and value at a very low cost.

The free Lifeline cell phones offered might not be the latest but they certainly are decent smartphones that work well and the plans too come with ample amount of talk time, texts, and data speeds.

Can I get a Free Touch Screen Government Phone?

Yes, you can get a free touch screen government phone with the Lifeline Assistance Program. Most of the lifeline service providers offer free government touch screen phones. So if you are eligible for the program you can get a free touch screen phone.

Can I get a free iPhone government phone?

It is highly unlikely to get free government iPhone since those are quite expensive and the lifeline program offers mid-range android smartphones. Plus, various government assistance programs are run with the motive to meet the needs of people and not luxury.

Do Free Cell Phone providers Provide customer support to Users?

In most cases, yes, the phone providers offer customer support to users. There might be some service providers might not extend customer support to lifeline participants. But in the majority of the cases, the lifeline providers always offer constant customer support to the customers and participants of the lifeline program as well.

Closing thoughts

That was it all about the lifeline assistance program. We hope that you have got all of your doubts cleared. It is actually quite easy to apply for the program and if you are eligible for it, you will most certainly receive various benefits such as free government phone, discounts on monthly cell phone service plans, and much more. There are also various ways using which you can be eligible for this program. In case you have any further doubts, feel free to ask us in the comment section below.

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