Free Government Cell Phone Service Guide for Illinois Residents
Nicknamed “the Prairie State”, Illinois borders Indiana and the Mississippi River. Illinois is rich with farmland, hills, wetlands, and forests.
Illinois is possibly most known for its biggest city, Chicago. Marked by huge skyscrapers, neo-Gothic architecture, and the famous Navy Pier, Chicago is a huge tourist destination for Illinois.
However, Illinois, has dire financial needs despite having one of the most known cities in the world. The national economy has slowed, and as a result, Illinois residents suffer from financial issues.
To help offset some of the economic issues is the free government cell phone service program called Lifeline, which is available to all eligible Illinois residents.
What is Lifeline, Free Government Cell Phone Service?
Lifeline free government cell phone service is a government benefit program that gives eligible participants free cell phone service. It is a free monthly service benefit.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the government launched this program in the 1980s. The original goal was to help low-income Americans to stay connected via free or discounted communications services. In the 2000s, the program was updated to include wireless cell phone services.
Lifeline free government cell phone service is distributed by an approved provider. In order to receive free cell phone service, Illinois residents must apply for the service by contacting an approved Lifeline service provider. Once applied and approved, they will receive free cell phone service through their chosen provider.
Why Illinois Residents Should Get Free Cell Phone Service
Lifeline is one of the most useful government programs available for eligible Americans. Millions of Americans already enjoy having free government cell phone service.
Recipients of Lifeline free cell phone service are able to stay connected to family, friends, work, and medical services. Having a cell phone with service allows Illinois residents the ability to look for employment opportunities on their own cell phone, and to even use in case of 911 emergencies. Being able to stay connected to the world is very important to Illinois residents.
Lifeline Cell Phone Service Eligibility Requirements in Illinois
You are eligible for free cell phone service in Illinois if you currently participate in a government assistance program, or if you have low income.
Generally, you can get free cell phone service if you already participate or are enrolled in a government assistance program such as Medicaid (and other programs, see below). Government programs vary by state, but in Illinois, these are the top government assistance programs you can participate in that will automatically qualify you for Lifeline free government cell phone service:
- 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)
Don’t already participate in a government program? You may also qualify for free cell phone service in Illinois if you have low income. Generally, if your total household income is at or below your state’s Federal Poverty Guidelines (varies by state), then you may qualify for Lifeline. See Illinois’ Federal Poverty Guidelines here.
How to Apply for Free Government Cell Phone Service in Illinois
There is something you must do before you first thing you apply for free cell phone service in Illinois: choose a Lifeline service provider. In order to get the best service for you and your household, you should first research and decide which Lifeline provider you would like service from.
We highly advise you take the time to select the right Lifeline service provider for your lifestyle. Most providers offer different cell phone service plans, so you should take the time to look through the different providers before applying.
Free Cell Phone Providers in Illinois
We have found the top 3 Lifeline Assistance Program free cell phone service providers in Illinois. While each provider offers their own plans with different amounts of minutes and data, in general, every provider below is reliable and offers consistent service.
- Q Link Wireless
- Safelink Wireless
- Assurance Wireless
Once you have selected your Lifeline free cell phone service provider, you can apply with them as soon as you want. The easiest way to apply is online through their website. If you choose to, you can also apply by filling out a paper application, or calling them and applying over the phone.
Keep in mind that applying for Lifeline online is always the fastest and easiest way to get your free government cell phone service. Although the online process is different for every Lifeline provider, you can expect the process to look like this:
- Enter your personal information such as your name and address.
- Enter information to prove your identity (usually your SSN).
- Select which government program you currently participate in. If you do not participate in a government assistance program, the online process will let you apply with low income eligibility instead.
- Select your Lifeline services. Most providers offer more than one type of Lifeline services for you to choose from.
- Submit your proof document(s) that prove you either participate in a government assistance program, or you have low income. This is an important step and the Lifeline service provider will help you with what proof documentation is needed. If you need help submitting proof documents, you should contact the Lifeline provider you’re applying with.
Once the application process is done and you are approved for Lifeline, your provider will help you with setting up your free cell phone service.