HOW DO I QUALIFY FOR A FREE GOVERNMENT CELL PHONE?

How do you qualify for a free government cell phone with 250 minutes each month?

There are two ways to qualify for a free government cell phone.  If you are currently receiving government assistance like welfare or food stamps you will qualify.  You will also qualify if your yearly income is 135% or less than the national poverty rate.

1. A participant of federal assistance qualifies you.  Qualifications can vary state to state.  However, if you are currently participating in any of the following programs, you most likely be able to receive a free cell phone:

  • Food Stamps (SNAP)
  • Public Housing Assistance
  • Medicaid
  • Section 8 Housing
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Home Energy Assistance Programs
  • National Free School Lunch
  • and many other programs

2. You may also qualify based upon federal poverty guidelines.  If your household income is at or below 135% to 150% of the federal poverty guidelines depending on your state of residence, you qualify.  Most states are 135%, but Arizona, Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, Michigan, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Texas are 150%.  Here are the 2011 Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Size of
Family Unit
48 Contiguous
States and D.C.
AlaskaHawaii
1$14,702$18.360$16,929
219.85924,81322,856
325,01631,26628,782
430,17337,71934,709
535,33044,17240,635
640,48750,62546,562
745,64457,07852,488
850,80163,53158,415
For each additional
person, add
5,1576,4535,927

In addition, in order to qualify you must also have a valid United State mailing address (no PO boxes.)  You are only allowed one Lifeline phone per household.

You can claim your free government cell phone by visiting a provider.  Visit your state government page to sign up for your free cell phone.