The world today considers a cell phone as the best communication medium. With continuous technological improvements, most people can access affordable cell phone deals without a contract. However, since not everyone can afford a cheap cell phone plan, the government in collaboration with Lifeline Assistance firms has begun a program that delivers free government cell phones to its citizens.
Although this good news, not everyone is eligible to receive a cell phone for free from government. The program caters to the needs of low income earners or if you cannot entirely afford to purchase a cell phone. It is vital to have a cellphone for regular communications irrespective of being financially deprived or not. It explains why the government is issuing free government phones through its special program.
Millions of Americans are beneficiaries of free government phones. With the American economy growing at a slow rate, it is estimated that the number of citizens enrolling for these programs is bound to rise. To help address that growing concern, Lifeline Assistance companies are in different regions, providing free government phones by state. These companies also carry different free services and units.
Because the number of state-based Lifeline providers is increasing, getting a free government cell phone from those companies is easy. Currently, there are over 58 companies providing free cell phones from government. You will want to know these providers, their states of jurisdiction, and cities. Furthermore, consider checking out what kind of packages and plans they offer before matching your preferences.
Top Free Government Cell Phone Services 2019
|Lifeline Provider||Free Services||Network||Support BYOD||Notes|
|Access Wireless||100 voice minutes
|Assurance Wireless||See Access Wireless||Sprint||N||
|Assist Wireless||500 voice minutes
|Blue Jay Wireless||250-Unlimited voice minutes
|C Spire Wireless||$9.25 monthly credit||C Spire||N||
|Easy Wireless||250-1,000 voice minutes
|Life Wireless||1,250 to Unlimited voice minutes
|Q Link Wireless||68-500 minutes
1 min = 8 text messages
|SafeLink Wireless||Unlimited voice
|StandUP Wireless||Unlimited voice
|Terracom Wireless||500-1,000 voice
200 talk minutes to Mexico
1GB data if BYOD
|True Wireless||500 voice minutes
500 text messages
Top 15 Best Companies Cell Phone For Free From Government
1. Verizon Wireless
This is the only Lifeline Assistance program without free government cell phones. Nevertheless, Verizon Wireless delivers wireless phone services program at affordable rates. If you subscribe to this promo, you can save more than $9.25 per month when you get Verizon’s wireless cell phones.
This company offers services to customers in:
- North Dakota
Subscribers get a lifeline plan featuring 750 minutes of talk time. In addition, you enjoy making domestic and long-distance calls at 45 cents per minutes.
2. Q Link Wireless
The Lifeline Assistance company carries the best free smartphones from government. Their cell phones come with an extra 500 unrestricted texts plus call minutes every month. To benefit from what Q Link Wireless provides, you need to be in the following states:
- Puerto Rico
If a customer refers a friend and they get the best cell phone for free from government, Qlink offers 100 free bonus minutes for the successful referral.
3. Assurance Wireless
Assurance Wireless comes with 350 minutes to make free calls, as well as 500MB free internet data. Moreover, the Lifeline company has unlimited text offers plus free touch screen government phones. Residents of California enjoy unrestricted calls and texts and another 500MB of free data.
To enjoy offers from Assurance wireless, you need to be in the following areas:
- New Mexico
Subscribers can also top up if they want to add up to the free 350-talk time offer.
This cellphone provider firm caters to the people of Oklahoma who need the best free government cell phones. DartPhone is exclusive to Oklahoma residents. They only deal with two essential services:
- Lifeline services
DartPhone’s prepaid wireless service comes with different package plans appropriate for their consumers. Lifeline subscribers can leverage on discounted prepaid plans by DartPhone.
Subscribing to DartPhone’s services makes you eligible for the best free government cell phone carrying a 2GB free data plan, including unlimited calls and texts. The plans often come at subsidized rates of $15 every month.
If you reside in Oklahoma and qualify for a cell phone for free from government, the company will offer a cell phone for free. This offer carries 1000 minutes of talk time, unlimited texts, and 1GB internet data. All the packages are free for Oklahoma residents.
According to Dart Company’s data, most Oklahoma residents enjoy unlimited services at only $1 per month. If you live in this region and wish to receive the best free government phone, be sure to try DartPhone for incredible plans.
5. Infiniti Mobile
This service provider company attends to the needs of clients from seven states as follows:
- South Carolina
Infiniti Mobile is restricted to providing the best free government cell phones to sole beneficiaries of Medicaid and SNAP. If you qualify for the Lifeline services program by Infiniti Mobile, you will receive a free government cell phone with internet. Alongside the free phone, there are many plans like the 750-minute talk time, countrywide roaming coverage, as well as unlimited texts and pictures.
On top of the cell phone for free from government, Indian American subscribers get an extra 2GB free internet data, 1000 minutes of talk time, plus unrestricted texts. This offer, however, is only for the Indian-Americans.
In case you need more plans on data and calls, simply pay a small extra fee to continuously, benefit from Infiniti Mobile’s free packages. The services include:
- $4 per month voice top up for an extra 100 minutes
- $20 per month premium plan with 1000 minutes
- 100MB, $4 per month data top
- 500MB, $12 per month data top up
- Premium 1GB, $20 per month data top up
To apply for this service, simply fill in an online application form from Infiniti Mobile’s website. Otherwise, prospective applicants can make inquiries from Tulsa service retailers.
6. Assist Wireless
Currently, Assist Wireless is supplying free government cell phones to applicants from the following locations:
The company provides Lifeline phones free, plus various prepaid plans to a wide array of qualifying customers that are eligible for any federal program. Assist Wireless has different programs depending on the location of issuance. For example, residents of Missouri, Maryland, Arkansas, and Minnesota receive plans such as 500 minutes free talk time as well as text messages. On top of that, there is 1GB free data and an additional free government phone with internet.
Oklahoma residents enjoy the best free government cell phones carrying 1.5GB free internet plus unrestricted texts for only $10 per month.
7. Easy Wireless
Easy Wireless attends to the best free government cell phones in three major states:
The core eligibility criterion for Easy Wireless services is qualifying the federal state government’s eligibility. Qualifying clients to this program get a free government cell phone with internet, as well as state related plans. For instance, Kentucky and Missouri residents are entitled to 25MB internet data, and 250 texts plus call minutes.
Qualifying Oklahoma residents including non-tribal subscribers get 2250 minutes on top of unrestricted texts and 50MB internet data for $26. Similar packages are also exclusive to tribal residents of Oklahoma at $1 per month.
8. Blue Jay Wireless
Blue Jay Wireless sees the citizen living in the following areas:
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
Subscribers to the Blue Jay Wireless lifeline services are granted a cell phone for free from government. The phone comes with 500 minutes and unlimited free texts. California residents enjoy both free message texts and talk time.
If you love the internet, be sure to pay $26 and enjoy an extra 5GB of data. This plan, however, is only for California residents. Non-residents can pay $3.6 to receive an additional 500MB data.
The company mainly deals with the inhabitants of Alaska. TelAlaska offers four main mobile packages from which qualifying applicants can choose.
- The lifeline pan regional only plan
- The student plan
- The local and beyond plan
If you are internet-oriented, TelAlaska is the most capable participant among the issuers of free government cell phones with internet. Just use the online application form to apply for their services.
One of the best things about this company is the wide array of plans. They are:
- Free countrywide limitless messaging plan of $5.99
- 400 outside and in-state calls, as well as long as monthly long distance minutes
- Voicemail plus calling plans
- Unrestricted local calls to and from residents of their network
10. SafeLink Wireless
This one of the biggest telecom companies with network coverage in more than 40 states. Besides, SafeLink is the longest serving and thus the most reliable lifeline service provider with the best free government cellphones.
With SafeLink Wireless, you can opt for a free Sim card or smartphone depending on your qualification. California residents can access a free sim card with limitless minutes plus 1GB monthly data. For the free government smartphone, the company gives unrestricted minutes plus 2GB internet data every month.
SafeLink also caters to the needs of residents in other states. For a free sim card, this lifeline company will grant you 1000 free minutes plus 1.5 GB data every month. Alternatively, you can get a smartphone loaded with 1000 free minutes and 1.0 GB data per month. When running out of allotted talk time, it should not be a cause of concern. You can buy TracFone Airtime cards in retail stores and on the internet.
11. American Assistance
The American Assistance offers 500 minutes and free texts every month. Commonly known as the American Broadband and Telecommunications, it looks after the needs of customers hailing in:
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
The major drawback with this lifeline services provider is that they do not offer free internet data to customers. However, if you are not online-oriented, subscribing to the American Assistance grants you:
- Voice services
- Caller ID
- Three-way calling
The Arctic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative sees to the interests of citizens residing in remote regions of Northern Alaska. Because of that, ASTAC has limited its offers to local limitless talk time plus texts messages. If you wish to make long distance calls, you have to pay an upfront fee of $200. In addition, they do not have roaming services unless at a $0.25 per minute fee.
13. Sprocket Wireless
Sprocket Wireless lifeline assistance provider concentrates on citizens living in the remote environs of Oklahoma. Besides giving the best free government smartphone, the company provides unlimited minutes and texts at a $1 fee.
To be eligible for their services, be sure you are a resident of one of the following areas:
- Broken Bow
14. Terracom Wireless
This telecom company carries the best cell phone for free from government with 1000 minutes talk time and unlimited text messages. Terracom Wireless is available in the following states:
- West Virginia
Oklahoma residents have an upper hand with 500MB free monthly internet data.
TruConnect comes with free calls and texts on top of 500MB free data every month. This offer is based on the free government phone locations to which they serve. To be able to access the best free government cell phones courtesy of TruConnect, you must have residency in one of the following places:
Typically, besides California, inhabitants of these states get 100 minutes free talk time, unlimited texts, as well as 500MB free internet data on a monthly basis.
Californians are better placed with TruConnect’s offers. They enjoy monthly-unlimited texts plus 500MB data. On top of that, they are eligible for the free government cell phone with internet.
Benefits of Free Government Cell Phones With Internet
Most of the lifeline providers today are availing the best free government cell phones to assist in coping with the rapid changes in technology. While the phones are decent, they may only have primary communication features.
On the other hand, companies working with the Lifeline program have endeavored to deliver free government phones with the internet as proof of advancing technology. They have invested plenty of their resources to bring free internet packages to their clients.
Some of the most essential daily functions of free government phones with internet include:
- Reading books and magazines on the internet
- Setting up professional business profiles through social platforms like LinkedIn
- Doing online shopping and banking
- Listening to podcasts
How To Access Free Cell Phone Service From Government
The government cell phones program has recorded significant successes across the nation. In fact, it is estimated that 12-15 million Americans are already using the free cell phone service. There are dozens of companies waiting to send you a cell phone for free from government. Here is a three-step process on how to get a free phone from government:
- Step 1
The first important is getting to know the providers of these phones in your state. Furthermore, you must be aware of the specific eligibility requirements in that state. You can check the Free Government Phones online for the list of states and click on yours. The page will redirect to mobile companies providing cell phone and service in your area. You can also find the eligibility requirements for your state on that page.
- Step 2
Dig deeper into individual participating companies in your state. By clicking on the links you will find on that page, you can access detailed information on how you can contact the Lifeline Assistance companies. Moreover, you will get insights on their specific availability, as well as plans.
Although the federal lifeline program carries regulations, the companies must abide with, phone choices and plans often vary between providers. It is vital to look at the plans and match one to your needs.
After narrowing down the list of possible providers, visit each of their sites to get a clear perspective of the programs and phones on offer. You can as well give them a call and discuss your concerns. You will be under the provider for at least one year. It helps to choose one that suits you best.
- Step 3
When you have determined the right company, sign up via their website or by phone. Enrolling online is more convenient since you do not have to wait for an available operator.
When using the online enrolment system, you can easily upload any document the company requires.
Consider qualifying through the government participation method instead of the income level method. The latter requires that you gather more documents to support your income levels.
After enrolling, the phone will come via mail. More often, delivery times significantly vary between different cell phone lifeline companies. While some will deliver in a week’s time, others might take several weeks.
Do You Qualify For A Free Cell Phone?
The Lifeline phone service comes with a few rules and regulations. Even as not everyone can get a cell phone for free from government, you are most likely eligible if you have financial issues. Cell phone companies usually verify your details, dispatch your phone, as well as manage the phone’s account.
The eligibility requirements are the sole responsibility of the federal government since they sponsor and regulate the program. Therefore, you should expect to find similar requirements across the country, save for minor state-based differences. Participating in any of the following federal benefit programs is a qualification:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps or SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
- Veterans Pension and Survivor’s Benefit
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance (BIA)
- Tribally Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
- Tribal Head Start (only those households meeting its income qualifying standard)
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
Additionally, you can qualify on the low-income basis. A few states allow different maximum income levels from the Federal’s Poverty Guidelines at 135%.
From the foregoing, there are two ways you can get a cell phone for free from government:
- Lifeline eligibility through participation in federal or state assistance programs
- Lifeline eligibility through
Participation in Federal or State Assistance Programs
Participation in a state or federal assistance program is the most popular qualification method. Being in those programs is proof enough that you are in financial need. You, therefore, don’t need to prove it another time.
The common federal assistance programs in every state include:
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Tribal Head Start
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
- Supplemental Security Income
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Tribally Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
It is vital to remember that individual states can allow eligibility based on their state assistance programs. In Massachusetts, for instance, the MassHealth program qualifies you. In California, participation in the Women, Infants and Child Programs gives you a phone. Therefore, if you do not qualify to receive a cell phone for free from government according to the list above, your state might have other programs under which you are eligible.
Total Household Income
Participation in assistance programs offers the easiest enrolment path because there is no proving income level. However, if you are unable to qualify through that avenue, the Total Household Income is yet another qualification method. This method involves all incomes household members receive, taxable and non-taxable, including but not restricted to:
- Spousal support and child support
- Public-assistance payouts
- Social security and pensions
- Rental income
- Lottery winnings
- Self-employment income & cash payments from other sources
- Employment-related non-cash income
The only exempted items include military housing and cost of living allowances, student financial aid, irregular income from one-time errands such as lawn mowing, babysitting, and others.
- Save for Hawaii, Alaska, and California, all other states require income levels of 135% or below, of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
- New Jersey, Michigan, Texas, and Florida have conflicting information about their income levels. Information from different carriers in those states quote the income levels to be 135% and 150%. It is best to check with each provider for a better perspective.
- Depending on whether you are 65+ years, Vermont can allow as much as 234% household income.
|TOTAL HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS||MAX INCOME LEVELS REQUIRED
All States But:CA, HI, AK
|For each extra member, add||$5,832||$6,600||$6,709||$7,290|
More importantly, each household is allowed only one Lifeline account. Additionally, be sure to have a valid US mail address. Unfortunately, you cannot use post office boxes because they have to mail your cell phone for free from government, to a valid street address.
How To Do An Annual Free Government Cell Phone Recertification
One of the most pertinent concerns for most consumers who already have a free government cell phone is how to go about their annual recertification. This is a very important factor because without completing annual recertification with your Lifeline cell phone provider, they suspend your service.
Lifeline cell phone plans typically carry a once-per-year service. As such, continuous participation in the Lifeline program requires yearly eligibility recertification. However, recertification can also be requested during special circumstances, such as when the FCC was hunting for fraudulent accounts.
Generally, recertification will just be once every year, before your anniversary date. Save for a few states, you will not be providing supporting documents of program eligibility as you did during the initial application. Furthermore, re-certifying does not come at a fee.
The law requires phone companies to contact you before your eligibility expires. Lifeline cell phone providers can send a text message, call you, or send a letter to inform you that you have to re-certify with them. After getting this notification, you are obligated to respond within sixty (60) days.
Losing Your Free Lifeline Service
Although recertification should be an easy and straightforward process, eligibility is not guaranteed at all times. You can lose the free Lifeline account during recertification in two scenarios:
- If you fail to respond within the sixty days of being notified
- If you respond and the cell phone provider is unable to verify eligibility using the state eligibility database
In these two scenarios, you not only lose participation in the Lifeline program but also lose the free Lifeline service. This also goes for lifeline discounts if you are one.
To perform the recertification, the law requires you to submit certain information. Obviously, you will need your phone number, and the originally assigned PIN number or password in some instances.
You may be asked for any of the following details:
- Present address
- Previous address if you have moved to receive the free government cell phone
- Social security number
- Date of birth
- Total household income or the government assistance program qualifying you
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Who pays for free government phones?
Telecom companies are required by federal law to contribute to the Universal Service Fund. In turn, the USF pays for the free cell phones services besides providing telecommunications services funding for qualifying rural health caregivers, libraries, and schools.
2. Are cell phones for free from government really free?
Although free phones are hardly ever free, several of the US providers are already offering free phone plans to qualifying customers. The plans carry a specific number of voice minutes, megabytes, and text messages every month, all absolutely free.
3. Can I get a landline phone for free?
Presently, you are eligible for a free government cell phone in about 40 states, and rapidly moving into other states. If you are in an area where free cell phones are unavailable, you can still qualify for a free government landline phone.
4. Can one switch free government cell phone companies?
If you are a customer of the Lifeline free government cell phone service, you can switch service providers whenever you find it necessary. This is because, on March 19, 2018, the USAC eliminated port freezes that restricted consumers to specific cell phones.
Cell phone service companies in association with the Lifeline Assistance program are providing with wide-ranging plans carrying different features. Therefore, the free government cell phone plans in the neighboring state might be different from yours. The differences could be due to varying geographical features and FTC guidelines.
Some Lifeline cell phone companies only serve single states while others attend to more than one state. As a smart consumer, you’ll want to start by matching the pros and cons of individual state service providers to find a suitable cell phone for free from government and a plan that meets your requirements.