You may have heard of it from friends and family: a free government cell phone service with up to 250 free minutes a month. Did you know that you may qualify for a free cell phone too?
Often nicknamed the “free cell phone program”, the Lifeline Assistance is a government benefit program that was created by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the 1980s. The program actually only gave a discount on landline telephone services. Later, in the 2000s, the program was updated to also include cell phone service. The FCC approves private companies to provide the free cell phone service to eligible low-income Americans who apply.
Did you know that the government isn’t the one who provides the free cell phones to participants of the Lifeline program? Yes, that’s right, the private phone companies are the ones that pay for the cell phones as a way to help out individuals in need.
Sounds great, right? If you’re asking yourself, “How do I qualify for a free government cell phone service?”, just read this article to find out.
You may even get to apply for a free cell phone today!
1. Qualify by Government Assistance Programs
If you currently participate in a government assistance program such as Food Stamps (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, or most other government assistance programs, then you may qualify.
Government programs and qualifications vary by state. However, if you currently participate in any of the following programs, you most likely will be able to receive a free cell phone:
- Food Stamps, or SNAP Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Section 8, or Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- National School Lunch Program (Free Lunch Program Only)
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
- Head Start (If Income Eligibility Criteria are Met)
- Other Government Programs (varies by state)
You can see a full list of government programs in your state by visiting this site here.
2. Qualify by Low Income
You may also qualify for a free cell phone based upon your state’s Federal Poverty Guidelines. If your total household income is at or below 135% to 150% (eligibility rules vary by state) of the Federal Poverty Guidelines in your state of residence, then you may qualify. Most states’ current guidelines require your total household income to be at or below 135%, but other states require 150%, and a couple others currently have their own requirements.
Here are the Federal Poverty Guidelines for 2015:
|People in Household||AL, AR, CO, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MN, MS, MO, MT, NE, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OK, OR, PA, PR, RI, SC, TN, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI||AZ, KS, MI, NM, OH, TX||California||Nevada||Vermont|
|1||$15,890||$1,324||$17,655||$1,471||$25,500||$20,598||You are 65 or older on June 15, 2015 and your 2014 household* income was less than $27,528.|
|5||$38,354||$3,196||$42,615||$3,551||$42,100||$49,718||You are under 65 on June 15, 2015 and your 2014 household* income was less than $23,596.|
|For each additional person, add||$5,616||$468||$6,240||$520||$6,200||$7,280||*This includes any household size.|
In addition, in order to qualify you must also have a valid United States mailing address (no PO boxes). Furthermore, there are a few restrictions:
- Only one Lifeline account is allowed per household.
- Households may not receive Lifeline from more than one Lifeline service provider.
- Lifeline service is non-transferable
You can claim your free cell phone now in just minutes. Here’s how: just enter your information in the form below and then click on the orange “Get Your Free Phone” button right now!