Why do you need a phone? This question is meaningless to ask in 2021. Everyone knows how mobile phones have shaped their life and career. And, you and the government vary well understand this. That’s why you desire to apply for free government phone.
Today, I will lead you through the process of getting a free government cell phone. Also, talk a bit about the data plans of a few top free providers’ internet services. So, without making the introduction let’s dive straight into the guide.
What Is The Lifeline Program?
Although it’s not essential, I would like you to know how and why you’re getting a free phone. In 1985 with the intention of making the low-income families knowledgeable with high-technology, the federal government introduced a program. That program is called the ‘Lifeline’ program now.
Through the program, the government provides free phones, tablets, laptops, and internet services. But, for that, you need to meet specific criteria.
When talking about these free cell phones, a common question is ‘Are these phones actually free?’. The answer is simple – Yes. You will get a phone free of cost; there isn’t any additional payment, hidden fee, or anything. And, they won’t bind you to repay for it later.
The government also understands how a phone can improve the lifestyle of a person. And, when your lifestyle improves, you get a job, and start working hard for more life opportunities, it is ultimately also good for the country. So, it’s a win-win situation.
How To Qualify For The Free Government Phone
Just like I said, not everyone is qualified for free phones. You need to meet some conditions for the service. For that, you need to prove you are genuinely too needy to afford a phone and bear service costs.
How will you prove that? Firstly, if you or someone in your household is enrolled in other federal assistance programs that help people in different sectors, you will be automatically qualified.
And, the other way is if your overall household income is at or under 135% of the federal poverty guideline. It becomes much easier when you have more members in your household.
For example, If there isn’t any member in your household, you need to confirm your income is below $12,760 in a year. And, as the number of your households increases, there will be a $4,480 addition for each member.
So, if you’re a four-member family, you need to prove, your family income is less than $30680 per year.
Now, it comes to a lot easier with the additional members in your household. As for the federal assistance program, it sometimes varies from state to state. But, some of them are common everywhere –
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA – section 8)
- Tribal Head Start
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Assistance for Needy Families (TTANF)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit Programs
If some programs in your state are recognized by the US government, those will be added to this list. And, with the certification of any of the programs, you can get a free cell phone for seniors.
How To Apply For Free Government Phone
The Application Process for the Lifeline program is straightforward. But, before you start apply for a free government phone., there are a few things you should keep near your hand, which you will need.
But, before everything, you should know that the government directly doesn’t distribute those free phones. There are some providers for this case. They give you the free government phone from the government and also offer you free talk, text, and internet services.
Anyways, you will need to submit pay stubs, a W-2 form, your income statements, or the document from the federal program that you are enrolled in. Have your Social Security Card or driving license near you.
There are two ways you can apply for a free government phone. Firstly, you can apply for Lifeline Assistance. By entering your state or territory, the process starts. Then a form will show up, where you put all of your information. And submit with the proof documentation.
After the site approves your application, you can just show it to any provider and get a free phone.
The other way is you apply through the provider’s website. Every provider on their website has a similar form and process. Take Assurance Wireless, for example. When you visit their website, you can see a large “Apply Now” button. Click it, and the rest of the process is the same.
The good thing is, you don’t need to show the confirmation from the Lifeline Assistance to the providers when you apply from the providers’ site.
That being said, no matter where you submit, the process is the same, simple, and will take some time. Be patient in the meanwhile. If the providers don’t respond even after ten days, apply again and wait. But, if there is still no response, they contract them.
Now, how many providers are there? And, which provider should you choose? Ok, let me suggest some well-known providers.
But, let me remind you, they are not available in all states, and depending on your state, a provider out of this list could be better. For that, you require to do some research.
Top 7 Government Free Phone Carriers
Few providers are offering free cell phone service. But, the service varies from state to state. For example, the most populated state, California, gets some extra benefits from almost every carrier. Anyways, let’s look at the top list I have to suggest to you.
1. Assurance Wireless: Offers up to unlimited nationwide free calls*, unlimited free text, and up to 5 GB of monthly data*. (*Varies from state to state).
2. Access Wireless: Offers up to free unlimited calls*, unlimited global free texts, and up to 5GB of data per month*. (*Varies from state to state).
3. Q Link: Offers 1000 minutes of nationwide free calls, unlimited nationwide free text, and up to 3 GB of monthly data.
4. EnTouch: Unlimited text (only for California Tribal lands), Unlimited text, and 5 GB data per month (only for California Tribal lands).
5. Tag Mobile: Offers monthly unlimited calls nationwide, global unlimited texting, and 1 GB of data each month without any cost.
6. Life Wireless: Offers 750 minutes of local and long-distance calling, unlimited texting to anywhere in the world, and monthly 1 GB of data.
7. Safelink Wireless: Offers Up to unlimited text, unlimited monthly talks*, and up to 3GB of data*. (Only for California users).
8. Tag Mobile: Offers up to unlimited text*, unlimited worldwide texting, and up to 6 GB of LTE data*. ( Only for California users).
These are the few providers I recommended, but there are many more. Before you choose them, ask anyone from your local area about the provider’s network. Usually, free data plans aren’t 4G LTE. Anyways, if you need additional data, you can always purchase them.
What Is The Alternative Of Government Free Phones?
There aren’t any hand-to-hand competitors of the Lifeline program. Although you can find many free phone programs from various providers, they genuinely aren’t free. They, one way or another, requital the price of the phone from you.
But, you can instead go with low-cost MVNOs, like Mint Mobile and Visible, who are doing a great job and buy an inexpensive phone. That way, you can get fast internet speed and high-class service at a low cost. But, there aren’t any free options without the lifeline program.
FAQs About the Free Government Phone
Q: What is the Lifeline Assistance Program?
The lifeline program is a federal government assistance program that was introduced in 1985 to make communication technologies reasonable to low income families.
The eligible people get free phones, discounts on the technologies they want to buy, and discounts on monthly phone or landline services.
Q: Where can I get the free phone?
Although the Lifeline program is operated by the federal government, they don’t directly offer phones. The government sponsors the participant providers of the program to provide free phones.
Anyone with proof of their qualification can get the free phones from the providers. Moreover, those providers offer free plans of their own too.
Q: Can I get a Lifeline and EBB program at the same time?
Lifeline and EBB are different programs, even though both have some similar discounts on providers. So, you can be enrolled in both programs at once, and they won’t break any restrictions.
Q: Can the Lifeline and EBB discounts apply in a single service?
If you qualify for both programs, then yes, you can apply for benefits from both programs in a single service. This way, even an expensive unlimited plan will be affordable for you.
The process, Apply for free government phone is actually simple. But, before you apply for any providers, make sure to research them properly. Because if you get enrolled for one provider, you or your household can’t apply for any other providers.
And, the switching process is extremely time-consuming and complicated than you would better stay with the disadvantaged provider. With that, let’s call it an end for today’s article. Hope, I could help you at least a little.