You may have heard that the US government has been giving away “free” smartphones. Yes, you’ve heard that right. It started back in 1985 when the government formed the Federal Lifeline Assistance. This program aims to provide everyone in real need to have an essential device like a smartphone and laptop. Until today, millions of US citizens have obtained cellular devices at no cost. Collaborating with different telecommunication companies, the government gives free smartphones to citizens in need. It ensures everyone with financial difficulties to have the benefits of communication services. The only question remains: how to get a free smartphone from the government? Keep reading for more information.
What can you do with a free smartphone from the government?
For the past years, the government has given more advanced and modern cell phones, or as we know them: smartphones. If you’re lucky, you can get one of the top 10 free touch screen phones the government provides. That said, even the oldest version of smartphones the government provides is still useful when it comes to improving your quality of life. Let’s take a look at the main functions you can benefit from!
Nowadays, smartphones are used in most learning processes. Students use a smartphone to find information and work on their homework or assignment. Because of this reason alone, many of the less fortunate are less educated and informed. With a free smartphone from the government, they have the chance to get informed and updated equally. They can browse stuff for study and work or other opportunities around them.
Either with family, friends, or colleagues, people are connected through smartphones. People can send text messages, as well as making calls and updating each other through social media. Even something as simple as sending an email is way easier with a smartphone in hand.
Help you with your jobs
Compared to five or ten years ago, smartphones have developed so vastly. This device helps people to accomplish work. They can send and receive emails anytime and anywhere. Besides, they can manage schedules and exchange ideas remotely using smartphones.
In case of an emergency
Smartphones are also a great tool to seek help. It can be educational help, financial help, or even psychiatrical help. Furthermore, you can download apps that will connect you directly to the authority in case of an emergency. In general, you can use smartphones to call family, friends, or government officials to get help in time of need.
Source of entertainment
For the past years, technology has been evolving. Along with this, smartphones come with more and more entertainment features. Having free government smartphones, even the less fortunate can have access to entertainment. They can enjoy life more by playing games, watching movies, and listening to music.
How to qualify and get a free smartphone?
Lifeline Program is specifically created to help those who are less fortunate. Thus, not every citizen can qualify to get free smartphones. So, who is qualified, and how to get a free smartphone from the government?
Low-income individuals or families
Those who live with low income can barely afford food, clothes, or shelter. To qualify for the Lifeline Program, someone needs to meet some criteria. Their income must be at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Note that one household is eligible for only one Lifeline.
Those who are above 65 years of age are qualified to get a free smartphone from the government. With a free smartphone, they can stay connected with their family and ask for help if an emergency occurs.
Someone is qualified for a Lifeline program if they were members of the armed forces or if they have participated in a military war.
Some disabled people may not be in a position to work. As a result, they have to live on a tight budget. With a free smartphone from the government, they will have access to information without taking a big chunk of their budget. This way, they have a chance for job opportunities and education.
Free Smartphones on Government Assistance Programs
Besides the above categories, you can also qualify for the programs in several ways. The government offers several assistance programs to help those in need. They include:
The government gives free medical services to low-income families and the less fortunate through Medicaid. Besides, eligible users also get free insurance covers. Those who are a member of Medicaid are eligible for a free smartphone from the government. To apply for Lifeline, one should prove his or her membership. They need to provide the membership document that shows the applicant’s name, date of issue, and the residential state.
2. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI is a government program that helps extremely poor citizens with free essential. The program also helps the disabled, orphans, and elderly. This help can be food, clothes, and shelter. So, how to get a free smartphone from the government for members of SSI? They should provide proof of their membership and stubs. Both have to state the applicant’s name, address, and date of issue.
3. Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
FPHA provides a monthly voucher from the housing choice voucher program, so people can afford safe, decent, and sanitary housing. It’s administered by public housing agencies.
4. Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance (BIA)
BIA is a government program that specifically helps less fortunate and Native American families. It provides financial assistance, food, clothes, and shelter. Beneficiaries of this program are also eligible for the Lifeline program. The applicant should provide proof of membership as well as an ISP document. They should have the name, date, and address of the applicant.
5. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
SNAP offers financial and food to help eligible American residents. It has benefited over 45 million American citizens. SNAP members are eligible to apply for the free government smartphone. When applying for Lifeline, they should provide a membership certificate. It should contain the applicant’s name, address, and date of issue.
6. Veteran’s Pension And Survivors Benefit
This is a federal program that aims in providing financial assistance to the deceased family members (spouse and children) of military veterans. If you’re a member of this program, you’re eligible for a free smartphone from the government. Like other federal assistance programs, you should provide some documents to prove your memberships.
Lifeline Communication Providers
Through Lifeline, the government provides free smartphones for eligible American citizens. Lifeline serves in forty-nine states, plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.
These states and provider companies may have different offers. Some companies provide free smartphones with free service plans. Meanwhile, some others offer free smartphones with discounted service plans. If you’re considering a Lifeline program, you should check the providers in your state. Here are some of the best Lifeline providers. Some of them are among the top 10 free government cell phone companies this year!
1. Q Link Wireless
As one of the major cell phone providers, Q Link Wireless provides a free smartphone from the government. They’re available in more than 30 states, including Texas, Kansas, and Georgia. Eligible users will get a free smartphone and free service plan. It includes unlimited text and 1000 minutes of call in one month. If you’re referring friends to use it, you’ll get a bonus of 100 free minutes of calls for every friend that signs up through your reference.
2. Access Wireless Company
Access Wireless is one of the communication companies that provide free smartphones from the government. They serve in more than 30 states, including California, Arizona, and Alabama. Not only do they give a free smartphone, but they also provide free minutes of talk and text messages on monthly basis. This number may vary in each state.
3. SafeLink Wireless
Another communication company that collaborates with the government is SafeLink Wireless. It’s one of the biggest and oldest providers. SafeLink gives free smartphones, sim cards, and service plans in several states. Free service plans include unlimited talk time and text messages, plus 2GB of data in a month. However, these services may vary in each state.
4. Assurance Wireless
One of the Lifeline big providers, Assurance Wireless offers Android smartphones. Besides, they also give free texts, minutes of talk, and data plan. Assurance Wireless serves in several states, including Utah, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. Eligible customers can check directly to the provider for requirements as well as the terms and conditions.
TruConnect offers eligible users the freedom to stay connected and communicate with family and friends. Besides, they can reach 911 in case of emergencies. TruConnect provides a free touchscreen phone plus free talk, text, and data in a month.
6. enTouch Wireless
enTouch Wireless has been collaborating with the government to provide a free smartphone for eligible American citizens. They serve in 20 states and also offer discounted service plans. Eligible users who can’t pay for a service plan may receive free service. California residents get the best deals. The eligible users get free unlimited text and calls, plus 4GB of data.
7. American Assistance
American Assistance offers full national coverage. As one of the Lifeline providers, they’re available in 16 states. Not only offering free smartphones, but they also give free monthly service plan. These include free 500 talk time, 500 text messages, and 1GB of data.
How to apply for a free smartphone from the government?
Now that you know all the information we provide above, you know who qualifies for it and what the best Lifeline provider is. Still wondering how to get a free smartphone from the government? To get the benefits of the Lifeline program, simply just follow this easy application process:
- Check your eligibility
- Choose a communication provider from those serving in your area
- Complete the application form with your personal information
- Submit the application with proof of your eligibility
- Wait for the approval process
- Once your application is approved, you’ll get your free smartphone
Can you lose your free smartphone from the government?
The answer is yes. There are several ways you can lose your eligibility for a free smartphone. Here are a few you should know:
Inactivity for more than two months
Once you received your free smartphone and the free service, you can start to use them. Failure to keep your service active for more than two months will make your account terminated. When this happens, you will lose your free smartphone and have to reapply to get a new one.
Failure in annual recertification
The government requires Lifeline users to recertify after one year of use. During this recertification, everyone must provide proof of the federal assistance program. When someone fails to complete and provides the required documents, the provider will close the account.
Quitting the Federal Government Program
You will lose your free smartphone when you quit or no longer eligible for the federal government program. If you’re not a part of those government programs, they don’t consider you in need of government assistance.
Acquiring More Than One smart Phone
The government allows only one smartphone for one person in one household. The rule is very strict, so everyone in need will have the same chances. If someone is trying to apply for a second phone, it will show up in the database. This case will make her or him lose the smartphone.
The government collaborates with telecommunication providers in providing free smartphones. They have made it possible and easy for the less fortunate American citizens to have access to technology. This includes the disabled and elderly. By giving them a free smartphone, they can stay connected with family and friends. What’s more, they can seek help and look for job opportunities. Plus, free smartphones allow them to enjoy life by using the smartphone for entertainment.
The Lifeline program offers a relatively easy and quick application process. To qualify through income eligibility, your income must be or below 135% Federal Poverty Guideline. If you or someone in your household a member of the federal assistance program, you’re also eligible to get a free government smartphone. Different telecommunication providers and states may have different offers.
So, we recommend doing some research based on your residential address to get the best providers. And that concludes the answer to how to get a free smartphone from the government.