Despite improvements to Iowa’s economy, the U.S. Census Bureau says that about 12.4 percent of Iowans are living under the poverty level. Tens of thousands of people living in Iowa struggle to pay their bills every day. This means that many are forgoing having a cell phone in order to save some cash. Cell phones are a necessary technology!
Being able to call friends, family members, job opportunities, co-workers, doctors, or 911 emergency services is an everyday necessity. Without a cell phone, many Iowans are unable to stay connected to their world.
There is a government benefit program that can help! Called the Federal Lifeline Assistance Program, this benefit will help Iowans get a free cell phone plus up to 250 free monthly minutes. Yes, free government cell phones in Iowa are available.
What is Lifeline?
Sometimes referred as the Lifeline program or the “free government cell phone program”, Lifeline is a government benefit that was created by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the 1980s. The program originally only gave a discount on landline phone services, but it was later updated in the 2000s to also include cell phone services.
Around the time cell phone services was added, the FCC started to allow some private phone companies the opportunity to provide the free services. These private companies are actually the ones that give the free cell phones to eligible low-income people. These free cell phones are to be used with the free monthly minutes, and the FCC or the government does not pay for them. Private phone companies wholly pay for the cost of the phones as their way of helping low-income people living in Iowa.
Who Can Get a Free Government Cell Phone in Iowa?
Although free government cell phones in Iowa are available, not everyone can qualify for one. In order to get a free cell phone, you must meet one of the two main eligibility criteria of Lifeline. One criteria is having a yearly total household income that is at or below the Federal Poverty Guidelines for Iowa.
The other eligibility criteria is being enrolled in any of the following government assistance programs:
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
- Food Stamps, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Head Start (If Income Eligibility Criteria are Met)
- Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF)
- National School Lunch Program (Free Lunch Program Only)
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance or Section 8
- Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
How Do You Get a Free Cell Phone in Iowa?
We suggest that you first select a Lifeline service provider that provides Lifeline in Iowa. Once you select your provider, you can ask for more information by visiting their website. You may also sign up for Lifeline via contacting their customer service over the phone, by mail, or by filling out an application online (fastest way).
Don’t wait; ask for your free cell phone in minutes. Remember that free government cell phones in Iowa are available, and you may qualify for one! To check your eligibility for Lifeline or apply today, enter your information in the blue box above and click on the orange button.