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HOW TO GET FREE GOVERNMENT CELL PHONE SERVICE IN CALIFORNIA

California Free Government Cell Phone Service Guide

california free government cell phone service guide

California is one of the largest states in the country, and is one of the most popular places to visit in North America. California is known for its warm climate, its beaches, cities, and easy-going lifestyle. It is home to national parks, beaches, theme parks, and nature preserves.

Some of California’s major industries include: computers and technology, movie production, tourism, and agriculture. However, nearly 12% of California residents struggle with having low income.

If you’re struggling to pay your bills, you may qualify for California free government cell phone service from Lifeline! This article will help you understand the background of the Lifeline free government cell phone program, its benefits, the qualifications, and whether the program can help you.

History of Lifeline – California Free Government Cell Phone Service

The Federal Lifeline program has helped millions of eligible people living in America get free or discounted phone service since 1984. Lifeline was started by the federal government and the Federal Communications Commission as a solution to helping low income Americans stay connected. Lifeline originally only provided free or discount landline service, but now cell phone services are included as an option.

The program is distributed by a nonprofit administration called the Universal Service Administrative Company, or USAC. In order to receive free government cell phone service, eligible consumers must apply and be approved for Lifeline. Once approved, consumers will receive their free cell phone service from an approved Lifeline service provider.

Benefits of California Free Government Cell Phone Service

The Lifeline cell phone program provides free minutes every month. Many Lifeline service providers, such as Q Link Wireless, participate in the program and offer voice mail, caller ID, call waiting, 911 access, and customer support as part of the free package. It’s important to compare cell phone providers who offer this service because additional minutes and services vary from one carrier to another. You should add additional paid minutes if you expect to go over the free minutes. Most providers charge a higher per-minute fee than you would pay for a block of more prepaid minutes.

Do You Qualify for California Free Government Cell Phone Service?

Lifeline qualifications is different in every state. You may be eligible for free government cell phone service if you already participate in a government program such as Medicaid or Food Stamps (see below for other programs). Specific government assistant programs vary by state, but these are the most common government programs in California that will also qualify you for Lifeline free cell phone service:

  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps)
  • Supplemental Security income (SSI)
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8 voucher)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Tribally Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
  • National School Lunch Program (Free Lunch Program only)
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance (BIA)
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
  • Most other government assistance programs (varies by state)

You may also qualify for Lifeline service in California if you have low income. Typically, if your total yearly household income is at or below California’s Federal Poverty Guidelines, then you may qualify for Lifeline. See California’s Federal Poverty Guidelines here.

Is California Free Government Cell Phone Service Right for Me?

As long as you meet the qualifications, there is no reason why you shouldn’t participate in the Lifeline program. The government has set up this program to help every American afford telecommunications services, regardless of their income.

Sign Up for Free Government Cell Phone Service

The online application is different for every Lifeline free service provider, but the process usually involves the five steps below:

  1. Enter personal information, such as your name and address.
  2. Enter information that proves your identity (usually your SSN).
  3. Select the government assistant program you currently participate in. If you do not currently participate in a government program, the application will then let you apply with low income.
  4. Select the Lifeline service plan you want from the provider. Most providers offer more than one type of Lifeline service plan for you to choose from. If there is only one option, this step may not show up in the online application.
  5. Submit proof document(s) that show you either participate in a government assistance program, or you have low income. Your Lifeline provider will help with providing the proof documentation. If you need help submitting documents, you should contact your Lifeline provider.
california free government cell phone service checklist

Once your application is approved, your Lifeline provider will help with setting up your free government cell phone service!

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