What is Free Government Cell Phone Service from Lifeline?
The government program known as Lifeline provides free government cell phone service for eligible people in America who receive government assistance, or have lower income.
Sometimes referred as the “Obama Phone”, the Federal Lifeline Assistance Program is actually a decades-long program. Lifeline was created in the 1980s by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the Reagan administration. Lifeline first gave qualified individuals access to landline phone communications. As times changed, the program was eventually updated during the Bush Presidency in 2005 to include wireless phones and services.
Even though the free Lifeline service is a program run by the government, eligible participants sign up for the service through verified Lifeline providers. There are several companies that provide Lifeline. Keep in mind that not every provider will offer the same type of free government cell phone service. Some providers may not even offer the service in your state. So you should do proper research before signing up for service.
Lifeline is a government benefit program that helps low income families. Communication services are no longer considered a commodity – it is now a necessity. However, low-income households often cannot afford such necessities. With the Lifeline program, all households can have access to cell phone services so they can easily stay connected to family, friends, work, 911 services, healthcare services, and job opportunities. The Lifeline program helps those who qualify far more than what we list here.
Even though millions of people already participate Lifeline, there are millions more that are eligible. During an unstable economy, Lifeline provides a key service for those that normally wouldn’t have access to cell phone service.
Qualifying for the program is actually easy if you already participate in a government benefit program like Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or commonly known as food stamps), Section 8 Housing, or Medicaid. You may also qualify for Lifeline if you have a low household income that meets your state’s specific income levels.
This website is your guide to getting free government cell phone service.
Do You Qualify for Free Government Cell Phone Service?
Each state may have specific criteria for qualifying for Lifeline free government cell phone service. Only the verified Lifeline service providers are the ones that handle your personal information. These providers are also the ones that gives your free government cell phone service to you. Furthermore they will also manage your Lifeline service account. Since Lifeline is regulated by the government, certain eligibility requirements are the same regardless of the state you live in.
There are 2 main ways you can qualify for free government cell phone service. These two ways are explained below.
Qualify if You Participate in a Government Assistance Program
If you participate in most government assistance programs (this varies by state), then you automatically qualify for free government cell phone service.
The eligible government benefit programs vary by state, so you will need to verify your state’s specific eligibility criteria. Below are the top 7 government assistance programs that you can participate in that will also qualify you for a free government cell phone:
- Food Stamps, or SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- National School Lunch Program (Free Lunch Program Only)
- Most Other Government Assistance Programs (varies by state)
Remember that eligibility depends on your state, and some states have special programs that will also qualify you for Lifeline.
Qualify by Having Low Household Income
If you do not yet participate in a government assistance program (remember, it varies by state, so if you do not participate in any of the above 7 programs, don’t worry), then you may still be eligible for free government cell phone service. If your total household income is at or below your state’s Federal Poverty Guidelines, then you may also qualify for a free government cell phone with free monthly minutes, data, and texting. Usually, if your household makes less than 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, you qualify for free government cell phone service.
How Do You Get Free Cell Phone Service?
How do you get your free cell phone service? Receiving free government cell phone service is simple, just sign up with a government approved Lifeline provider.
Choose Your Lifeline Provider
However, choosing your Lifeline service provider is not easy. You want to have the best cell phone service in your area. In order to receive great cell phone service, you should do some research before deciding who your Lifeline service provider will be.
Research is such an important step because it is really important that you choose a provider that is reputable and reliable. Why should you have free government cell phone service if you cannot use it?
So, to do research on available Lifeline service providers, you can simply visit their websites. If you do not have access to the Internet, you can visit your local library and research the companies from there.
The 3 most popular Lifeline service providers are Q Link Wireless, Safelink, and Assurance Wireless. Visit any of these 3 providers’ websites to find out more information. You can also see if your state is serviced by any of these companies. Many of these providers have a FAQ section that can answer many of your questions, like Q Link Wireless. You can also just contact the providers by online chat or email if you have any further questions about their services.
Once again it is very important for you to choose the right Lifeline service provider for you and your household. If you receive Medicaid, you may need cell phone service that allows you to call your doctors however many times you need. So, finding a Lifeline service provider that will offer you service with a lot or unlimited minutes should be important for you.
Then, Apply for Your Free Government Cell Phone Service
After you have decided who you are going to sign up for Lifeline with, you should then apply for free government cell phone service. After you are approved, you will receive instructions on activating your free government cell phone service.
Applying online is probably the fastest and easiest option for you. If you enroll for free government cell phone service online, then you can activate it as fast as possible.
The Lifeline cell phone service application is easy. Each provider has their own online application process. All you do is provide your information, which is necessary for the Lifeline service provider to properly identify who you are and to confirm your enrollment in the program.
After putting in your information, you select how you will qualify for the Lifeline program free cell phone service (either by participating in a government assistance program, or by having a low household income).
After filling out all the information, you have to submit it to the Lifeline service provider. Just follow the steps to submit your application.
The Lifeline provider will then ask you to provide proof documents that show you qualify for Lifeline cell phone service. The documents required depend on which method you used to qualify for Lifeline. For example, if you select to qualify by having government assistance, then you submit a proof document that shows you participate in a program.
If you select to qualify by low household income, the you will submit documents that prove you have low income. They will give you a list of examples of which documents you can submit and how to submit it.
Every Lifeline service provider has different processes for submitting proof documents. If you have any questions about submitting proof documents, make sure you contact your Lifeline provider’s customer assistance.
After submitting your proof documents, just wait for your approval letter or email. If any complications occur, your Lifeline service provider will contact you to help with getting your free service. Lifeline providers have different approval processing times. You may be approved in just a couple days, or it may also take several weeks. Your home state and other factors may determine the approval process.
This website is not affiliated with the FCC, with the Lifeline Assistance Program, or with any Lifeline service provider. Any questions you may have about the Lifeline program, having free government cell phone service, or applying should be asked to your Lifeline service provider.
What Else Should You Know About Free Government Cell Phone Service?
There are a few things you should know about Lifeline cell phone service before applying. Knowing this information will help determine whether you’re eligible for the program, and also will help with your application process.
#1: You May Only Have One Lifeline Account
You may only have one Lifeline account per household. Households cannot have phone service from more than one provider. If you have more than one account, you may not be able to sign up for another. You may even be deactivated from your current Lifeline service provider.
#2: You Must Provide Your Current Address
The address you provide on your Lifeline application must be current. This is to ensure your contact information is easily verified. Also note that Lifeline free government cell phone services are non-transferable.
#3: You Must Use Your Phone Service At Least Once Per Month
You must use your service at least once per month. Lifeline service providers may suspend your account or even de-enroll you if you don’t to make a phone call, send a text, or use your phone. Many providers will send you a text, email, or call you to remind you to use your phone. However, if it has been more than a couple months, your account may be deactivated.
#4: You Must Notify Your Lifeline Provider of Any Eligibility Changes
If you no longer qualify for free government cell phone service, you must notify your Lifeline service provider of these changes. Usually, you have 30 days to notify your Lifeline service provider of any eligibility changes. Please read your Lifeline service provider’s terms and conditions for more information.
Let’s Get Started!
The Lifeline service has helped millions of people stay connected, but millions more are still eligible.
Do you qualify for a free government cell phone? Click here to get started with your free government cell phone.
(i) the service is a Lifeline service; (ii) Lifeline is a government assistance program; (iii) the service may not be transferred to someone else; (iv) consumers must meet certain eligibility requirements before enrolling in the Lifeline program; (v) the Lifeline program permits only one Lifeline discount per household; (vi) documentation is necessary for enrollment; and (vii) Q LINK is the provider of the services.