Federal Government Free Cell Phone Program

With the increasing importance of communication technologies, the government needs to do something for the people who can’t afford a cell phone. So, in 1985, the Federal Government started a new program called the Lifeline Assistance program.

The program is now under the FCC and assisting millions of Americans with providing free government cell phones. Anyone with qualifications can get this free phone. Today, in this article, we will talk about the Federal government free cell phone program.

What Is The Lifeline Assistance Program?

With the purpose of making telecommunication technologies more affordable for low-income consumers, in 1985, the Federal Government started a new program called Lifeline Assistance Program.

Thanks to the program, qualified people can get a free phone, discounts on mobile phones, and discounts on monthly phone or landline services. This can’t be achieved by the government directly. So, several cell phone plan providers participate in this program.

Some providers offer free phone services, like monthly data, text, and internet. Moreover, if the free plan isn’t enough for you, you can purchase the paid plans, which could be up to $9.25 off.

How To Qualify For Federal Government Free Cell Phone Program

Not everyone can get a free phone from the federal government free cell phone program. You need to meet some criteria if you want the benefits. Firstly, if you or someone from your household is enrolled in other federal government programs, you will be automatically qualified.

Federal Government Free Cell Phone Program

If the first option is unavailable for you, you need to prove your qualification with a yearly income. The program is also for the low-income households, whose incomes are at or under 135% of the federal household income. If that’s the same with you, you can be eligible for the program by providing proof of your low income.

Here, keep in mind one thing- the larger your household is, the easier it gets. Not clear, how? Let me give an example. If you are a single person, you need to prove; your yearly income is less than $12,760, which I think is ridiculous for most people.

But, for each member of your household, the number increases by $4480, which includes kids. If there are four members in the family, if your yearly income is less than $30680, you will be qualified.

Other Programs:

As I said, if you are in any other federal programs, you are also qualified for the Lifeline program. Now, let’s know about those programs too.

Supplemental Security Income

The U.S. Treasury general funds funded Supplemental Security Income is a federal program that explicitly targets seniors and disabled people. The program helps those who can’t fulfill their basic needs because of insufficient income, seniors, and disabled people with financial assistance.

From the start to till now, more than eight million Americans got help, and still many are getting it. For the next year, SSI decided to pay $841 per month for eligible individuals and $1261 for the couples. Without the government, many states give supplementary income to needy people.

You will automatically qualify for Lifeline assistance if you are enrolled in the program.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

SNAP is one of the most popular programs that help low-income families and individuals with food purchasing power. It was previously known as the “Food Stamps Program”.

They provide qualified families with money to buy food. But, any alcoholic beverage and nonfood grocery items are not allowed, including medicines and vitamins.

It was said, more than 44 million individuals have received SNAP so far. In 2021 a three-member family has got up to $2353 per month, which means $28236 per year. And, the allowance will increase next year. Like the SSI, without Government financing, states also provide lifeline assistance cell phones.

Federal Public Housing Assistance

FPHA is another federal assistance program that was made for low-income families, seniors, and disabled people to assist with renting houses in the private market. One can find from scattered single-family houses to high-end apartments for seniors.

The eligibility of the program isn’t that hard. But, there are no large quotas for the program. If you live in the places selected by the program, you are also qualified for the Lifeline program.

Tribal Head Start

The program is a partnership between ACF and American Indian Tribes for children. Tribal Head Start offers school readiness for children after birth to age five for early childhood education service. Only low-income families qualify for this benefit.

If you enroll your kid in this program, you can also take advantage of it and get a senior citizen cell phone plan free from the government with Head Start certification.


Medicaid is also a famous assistance program, offering health care coverage to needy people in the United States. Both the government and state participate in this action. Each state manages the whole program, so it varies greatly depending on your living state.

It would help if you met the criteria to qualify for the program. The program assists a considerable number of people. According to a survey, around 70.6 million Americans were under the coverage of Medicaid.

More Federal Programs

Without the programs I have described earlier, there are other programs too. Tribal Programs – Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF), Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), and others are included.

How Do You Apply For Federal Government Free Cell Phone Program

You can apply for a free cell phone quite easily. Before applying, I would recommend keeping the necessities around you – like pay stubs, a W-2 form, or the certificate from the government agency that you are enrolled in.

How Do You Apply For Federal Government Free Cell Phone Program

Without that, your social security card or driving license is also necessary to fill the form. Usually, this much is enough for applying, but some providers have additional requirements. You will know those when filling the form.

You may know, the government doesn’t provide free phones directly. Few providers when to do the task. Moreover, those providers also offer additional free plans.

As for applying, there are two methods you can follow. Both of them are online, and both are the same. Firstly, you can enroll for the program from the Lifeline Verifier and, if confirmed, show that to the provider you selected. Another way, you can apply from the providers’ website.

No matter which process you take, you need to be a little patient as it would take some time. If you don’t get a response ( it happens quite often), re-submit again and contact the providers directly.

Top Providers For Federal Government Free Cell Phone Program

Many providers are participating in this federal government free cell phone program. You can select any of them and get free government cell phone companies. But, the problem comes with the service. What does a phone matter if it doesn’t have a good network and internet speed?

And, switching is quite complicated with the Lifeline program. So, there are few providers who have been in this business for a long time and offer reliable service.

  • Assist Wireless
  • Assurance Wireless
  • enTouch Wireless
  • FeelSafe Wireless
  • Life Wireless
  • Q Link
  • Infiniti Mobile
  • Safelink Wireless
  • SafetyNet Wireless
  • Tag Mobile
  • TruConnect

Some providers do better in some specific areas. If you are around your local area, then feel free to select that.

Restriction Of Lifeline Program

There are a few restrictions with the lifeline program free cell phone, which you need to follow. Failure of them will lead you to disenrollment and sometimes judiciary. So, it’s better to keep them in mind. Another thing I would recommend to you is to provide all legal information and avoid anything false.

The Lifeline program is only for those who participated in other assistance programs or have a low income based on the income eligibility standards.

  • You can just get one phone in your household. Applying for more will lead you to a permanent ban.
  • Failure to maintain or violate the rules means dis-enrollment from the program.
  • You must have to provide the address of your current residence.
  • Use the phone once every thirty days. If you don’t, there is a chance of suspension from the service.
  • The lifeline-free phone and services aren’t non-transferable. Only you and your household are allowed to use them. If you improve from your situation and aren’t qualified anymore, you need to return the phone.
  • You have to notify the authority within thirty days when you haven’t qualified anymore.

FAQs About the Federal Government Free Cell Phone Program

Are the free phones free?

Yes, the free phones from lifeline programs are entirely free. You don’t need to pay anything for them. But, you need to qualify to enroll in the federal government free cell phone program.

Do any large carriers participate in Lifeline programs?

No, none of them are direct participants of the lifeline program. But, their subsidiary companies are in the programs. And, you can get discounts on their plan.

What phones are offered in this federal government free cell phone program?

The phone’s lifeline program offers aren’t flagship or the latest models of your favorite brands. They are just regular phones with the ability to talk, text, and do a little browsing. After All, they are free phones.

Final Verdict

The federal government free cell phone program is called the Lifeline program, which assists low-income families in achieving technological advancement. You can get a free phone, free service, and discounts when paying for paid plans with the program.

But, not everyone is qualified for it. If you meet some criteria, you will be able to enjoy the free service. That was all about this article. Following the simple guide, you can quickly get a free phone.