Law & Government

Free Government Cell Phones

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Did you know that you may be able to receive a free cell phone through the government-sponsored program, Lifeline Assistance? The Federal Communications Commission set up Lifeline in the 1990’s which provided qualified recipients with a discounted monthly telephone service. Lifeline Assistance is a program that can help those who are financially disadvantaged receive a cell phone and package that can give up to 250 minutes (or possibly unlimited minutes and texts a month) for free. It is estimated that 15 million other Americans are already participating in this important and accessible program- and millions more are qualified to enroll. If you are interested in learning more about how to qualify to receive a free cell phone through Lifeline Assistance, keep reading.

How to Qualify

It is quite easy to qualify for a free government cell phone. You can get a free cell phone and service plan from many Lifeline companies in 49 states, Puerto Rico and D.C. The eligibility for a free cell phone and services is pretty much the same from state to state. There are qualifications that must be met by participation in federal aid programs.

These federal aid programs may include:

  • Getting Medicaid
  • Qualifying for SSI (Supplemental Security Income)
  • Receiving Food Stamps
  • Qualifying for BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance)
  • Making Use of Section 8 Housing (Federal Public Housing Assistance)
  • Taking Part in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
  • Veterans Pension and Survivor's Benefit
  • Being Part of Tribal Head Start (specific households meeting income qualifications)
  • Tribal TANF

States may also require additional qualifications. Some states may allow eligibility based on the social assistance plans that they have set up in their own state. You may be able to qualify based upon your income level as well.

Benefits

If you cannot afford the expense of a cell phone a free government cell phone can give you the access you need to stay connected. A cell phone can allow you to call 911 in case of emergency. It can also allow you to book medical appointments, stay in touch with family, do business and much more.

Supported Companies

There are many companies that you can choose from including regional providers and single state companies. There are basic features that each company must offer because it is a federally-mandated program. Although the plans will have many of the same basic features including the free mobile phone, the plans can vary- with some companies offering unlimited minutes, and others offering 1,000 minutes, and others offering much less. Most plans will come with at least 250 minutes, voicemail, call waiting, text messaging and caller ID. A few of the companies that support this initiative include Safelink Wireless and Budget Mobile. It is important to check the offerings available within your state so that you can receive the best offer available.

If you are looking to get a free cell phone through Lifeline Assistance companies you can easily find out if you qualify online. If you are on certain types of social assistance or make below a certain income you may be eligible to receive a free cell phone through the government. You can easily find out if you will be approved by researching offerings within your state.

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