Are you having a hard time staying within your monthly budget? Has the cost of owning a cell phone make you wonder if there is a better way? Cell phones can get expensive to own, but there is a solution that can help you save money while you still receive outstanding cellular service.
You just have to do one thing. Learn how to get a free phone from the United States government. The U.S. government provides options to help qualified residents receive a free cell phone that comes with an affordable plan to boot.
Lifeline Assistance Program
It is easy to take verbal shots at the government for running costly and inefficient programs. However, the Lifeline Assistance Program is considered one of the most successful programs ever managed by the federal government.
Since 1985, the program has provided discounts on phone service for eligible low-income Americans. As technology advanced into the digital era, the program received modifications that added a free cell phone and cell phone plans into the program’s service offerings. The federal government offers the program to eligible Americans in every state, territory, and on tribal lands.
Because of its success, the program is currently helping over nine million Americans save money on cell phones. Thanks to the Lifeline Assistance Program, these Americans own a phone to help them communicate with employers, as well as remain in touch with their loved ones.
Dozens of national and regional providers participate in the program. 49 states, as well as Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, approve companies to offer services to American residents. With the large number of companies participating in the program, it is a buyer’s market for American consumers.
Qualifying for the Lifeline Assistance Program
To become eligible for cell phone assistance, you either have to prove your income sits at or below 135 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or demonstrate that you are enrolled in one of the following federal assistance programs.
- Supplemental Security Income;
- Federal public housing assistance;
- Veterans pension and survivors benefit program;
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program;
- Assistance for Needy Families;
- Head Start, or;
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.
Documentation of receiving financial assistance from one or more of the federal programs is a key factor in getting approved for the Lifeline Assistance Program. Copies of bank statements that show direct deposit transactions should also support your application to join the free cell phone program.
Make sure to look into state-specific programs when finding out if you qualify for Lifeline. In California, you could qualify for Lifeline through a program-based merit. Two public assistance programs that can qualify you for a free phone include the Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Learn more about how to qualify in your state with an online search.
Free Cell Phone Plans
Although the Lifeline Assistance Program does not make you eligible to receive the latest Apple or Android phone, the plans offered by the program provide you with a high-performance smartphone that includes many popular features.
The carriers that participate in the Lifeline Assistance Program are:
- Access Wireless;
- American Assistance;
- Artic Slope Telephone Association Cooperative;
- Assist Wireless;
- Assurance Wireless;
- Cintex Wireless;
- Copper Valley Wireless;
- Easy Wireless;
- enTouch Wireless;
- FeelSafe Wireless;
- Infiniti Mobile;
- Life Wireless;
- NewPhone Wireless;
- Q Link Wireless;
- Safelink Wireless;
- SafetyNet Wireless;
- StandUp Wireless;
- Tag Mobile;
- Tempo Communications;
- Terracom Wireless;
- TruConnect, and;
- True Wireless.
To find a carrier close to you, just check out the “Companies Near Me” page on the Lifeline website. From there, you can enter your zip code or city and state to discover options available in the part of the country where you live.
How to Apply for the Lifeline Assistance Program
The process for applying for financial assistance through the Lifeline Assistance Program is relatively easy.
The federal government requires applicants for the Lifeline Assistance Program to submit paycheck stubs and a W-2 form. You can also request that the government agency that manages your public assistance to send a letter verifying your household income.
If you want to research a company like Access Wireless, you click the large “Apply Now” button to learn more about the services that are provided by the company. Simply follow the instructions and you can discover whether you qualify for a free cell phone and discounted cell phone plan.
You have three ways to apply for the Lifeline Assistance Program:
- Apply online by submitting the application;
- Mail your application, or;
- Contact an Internet or a wireless phone company.
If you want to apply by sending your application through the United States Postal Service, you send the application and proof of eligibility to the following address:
Lifelines Support Center
P.O. Box 7081
London, KY 40742
Although you have three ways to apply for the Lifeline Assistance Program, submitting your application and supporting documents online represents the quickest way to hear back from the federal government. Uploading documents is easy to do and you do not have to worry about paperwork getting lost during the mail process.
If you apply by referring to one of the eligible government programs, make sure to select the correct program. Otherwise, you might receive a letter stating the federal government has denied your application.
What Happens After You Apply for the Lifeline Assistance Program?
After you submit your application, the Universal Service Administrative Company reviews your paperwork before issuing a decision. If you apply for financial assistance online through the Lifeline Assistance Program, you might receive instant approval. Some applicants have to share additional information that proves their qualifications to participate in the program.
After you enroll in the program, all you need to do next is wait for your phone to arrive by mail. Delivery times vary depending on where you live in the United States. Make sure to read the information that accompanies your new phone, as it should explain the features and services that are available for you to use.