Smartphones have gained popularity over the years due to advancements in technological innovations in the cellular world. Today, advanced mobile phones are not only usable in making and taking calls, but getting the latest news, storing data, streaming live content, taking pictures among other uses. However, smartphones are expensive for low-income earners; hence knowing the best free government cell phone would help them upgrade to the next level of the smartphone age.
Furthermore, cell phones first launch to the public, they were expensive, bulky, and signal reception was weak in some areas. Today, smartphone usage has become less complicated, and the reception has significantly improved due to increased wireless service providers and the launch of satellites in space. Thus, some of these wireless carriers, in partnership with the US government, participate in the lifeline program to provide free smartphones to eligible citizens.
Most importantly, smartphones are a necessity for many people throughout the world. Everyone needs telecommunication services to stay connected to family and friends, searching jobs, businesses, and promptly responding to emergency issues. Therefore, the lifeline program is a government-initiated program that subsidizes phone services for low-income consumers. However, the process of free phone issuance is not arbitrary, but there are well-coordinated steps the eligible consumers should understand, only one member of each household enrolls in the program.
Who Qualifies for Free Government Smartphones?
Many people are always skeptical of accepting free goods and services, but the free government smartphone is not a scam. You may not believe that you can qualify for the free smartphone even when you work. Usually, the program helps the unemployed, veterans, elderly, disabled, and low-income families in every US state.
However, there are two criteria used in determining who qualifies for the lifeline program. First, if your income level is below or at 135% of the federal poverty level guidelines, then you are eligible. Secondly, if you participate in any of the following aid programs offered by the US federal government;
You qualify when you receive:
- Food Stamps (SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- The National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Program.
What Benefits Comes with A Free Government Smartphone?
Gone are the days when the program offered analog handsets, a phone without a camera, or internet, there has been a wide range of free government smartphones to keep pace with the technological improvements. Remember that it’s only one member of the household that qualifies for the above services. Each beneficiary receives a free smartphone, free talk time, texts, free minutes, and Wi-Fi.
However, the benefits differ from state to state, so when you are applying for the program, look for a wireless provider that offers the most outstanding terms with an excellent record of customer service. Besides, there are numerous wireless cellphone companies to choose from. The resources for the program come from the Universal Service Fund fees charged on cell phones.
What Is the Procedure of Getting A Free Government Smartphone?
i. Locate a government phone provider in your state
There are many best free government cellphone companies across US states and territories. You just have to identify the one that has the desired benefits for you. If you are looking for a wireless provider in your area of residence, go to the lifeline program website and click on the headline ‘companies near me’.
The next step is to enter your Zip code or City and state. Once you see the suitable provider in your area, register online, or download the application form and send it via mail.
ii. Enter an application online, or by mail
Once you’ve identified the company that suits your needs, enroll either by phone or on the company’s website. The online application is the most preferable as, so you won’t have to spend time waiting for an available attendant.
Online application most often allows you to upload any documents that they might require quickly. If you qualify via the government program participation method rather than by your income level, be sure to select that method. income qualification needs more documentation to gather up and send
iii. Submit proof of eligibility
Government free smartphones are available to any US citizen that is financially eligible and presentation of evidence of eligibility is availed. If you are working and your gross yearly income falls at or below 135% federal poverty guidelines, or you participate in any government aid program, you may qualify. Only one phone applies to the qualified beneficiary in each household.
iv. Wait for approval
Once you’ve submitted the necessary documentation, including proof of income, a letter from a government agency showing that you are a beneficiary of a government assistance program, or provide payroll stubs. The next step is to wait to be approved. Once the approval is complete, you will get a notification directing you on how and when to collect your phone.
v. Wait for your phone
Once your documentation authenticity verification is complete, received information on a successful application, you just have to wait for your phone to arrive in the mail. The delivery at times varies quite a bit between the different Lifeline cell phone companies, from a week to several weeks. So, wait patiently for your phone to arrive.
What Are The 11 Best Free Government Smartphone Providers In 2020?
1) Access Wireless
Access Wireless is a free government phone provider in the USA, and they provide their services in more than 30 states, including Arizona, Maryland, Colorado, Florida, Oklahoma, California, and Alabama. You can check your eligibility by visiting their website on access wireless to give your zip code. In addition, they have a great phone plan for low-income families.
The basic plan includes 3GB of data, unlimited text, and minutes per month. Other benefits include caller ID and call waiting with no extra fee, toll-free domestic long-distance calls, and voicemail. However, the plans vary from state to state. For instance, Kentucky subscribers will get unlimited texts, 500 minutes, and 3GB of data every month.
On the other hand, California’s free cell phone plan has a more attractive package than other states. The customer gets a free smartphone with no long-term contracts or monthly bills with no hidden or additional costs. On top of that, they get 2GB of free data, unlimited minutes, and texts per month free of charge.
2) Assurance Wireless
Assurance Wireless also offers free government smartphones to low-income families. However, they use the Virgin Mobile network to provide their wireless services with the excellent network coverage. For eligible customers, assurance wireless provides California residents with unlimited voice minutes and texts, 3-Gig 4LTE data, and 500MB data at $0 costs a lifeline fee per month.
However, other states receive 1000 or 350 voice minutes, unlimited SMS, 2GB 4G LTE data, plus other benefits. They include cheap global calls, mobile hotspot access, voice call, caller ID, 3-way calls, and Free 911, 211. You can also read more about the assurance wireless compatible phone to see the available choices before requesting for a free government smartphone.
3) SafeLink Wireless
SafeLink Wireless is among one of the best and biggest telecommunication companies that provide free government phones for low-income earners. It covers more than 40 states with new or existing customers receiving a free smartphone through the lifeline program and amazing plans.
The plans include 500 minutes talk time first 3 months, 1.5GB data first 3 months unlimited text messages plus 1 GB internet data, and 1000 minutes at $0 lifeline fees per month. However, if you live in California, then you can get 2GB of monthly data.
Other benefits are free smartphone plus a Simcard, a BYOP program plus a Simcard, national coverage plus free 911, voicemail, caller ID, and 3-way call. Before subscribing to the SafeLink carrier, get to know the SafeLink compatible phones that will seamlessly work with the provider and incases a SafeLink phone replacement.
4) Qlink Wireless
Qlink Wireless is among the best free government phone providers, and they provide their services in more than 30 states of the USA. For qualified customers, you can visit qlink wireless to check the plans available in your state.
Lifeline provides free phone, 1000 minutes monthly talk time, unlimited text plus 1GB data with $0 charge lifeline fees. Besides, you can also add more talk time and data if you need it.
However, there are extra benefits that include a free smartphone plus a Sim-card, a BYOP program plus a Simcard, Free 911, national coverage, voicemail, domestic roaming, 3-way call, caller ID, and 100 minutes for referrals. Through the bring your own phone initiative, you can qualify to join, and also you can change your old phone through the Qlink wireless phone upgrade program with a small fee.
5) enTouch Wireless
If you are wondering where to get the best free government phone provider, then enTouch Wireless is one of the fit choices for you. enTouch Wireless in collaboration with the federal government provides lifeline service to more than 33 states in the US including Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin among others.
The plan package includes a $20 plan for 1/2GIG 4G with unlimited minutes of talk time, unlimited text, and Wi-Fi for using social media and streaming live content. The other one is a $30 plan with Unlimited talk and messages, 1GIG of 4G data, and Wi-Fi.
The last is 4GIG of 4G data for unlimited texts and talks and Wi-Fi. The difference comes from the number of GB offered by each plan. When you live in California, then you can get unlimited talk time and texts plus 500MB of data.
Additional benefits include a free cell phone, voicemail plus 3 -way calling, caller ID, instate plus local, long-distance calls. Also, you can buy other plans if you wish, and there are three currently available.
6) Life Wireless
Life Wireless offers government-supported aid services to low-income families and individuals. The qualified customers get free smartphone and cell phone services at a discounted offer. There are eligibility guidelines followed as dictated by each state. However, the provider has the best Oklahoma lifeline plans.
The beneficiary of the program is limited to one member per household and cannot combine with any other Lifeline program. The plans vary from state to state. Hence you can get full details of the available projects in your state here on life wireless. All the services are available at $0 lifeline fees.
Other benefits include the following.
- Nationwide Calling
- Unlimited Text Messaging
- Call Waiting
- Three-way calling
- Caller ID Service
- No roaming charges among others
7) Easy Wireless
If you are a resident of Missouri, Oklahoma, and Kentucky, you can get a free government phone from Easy Wireless if you qualify for the lifeline program. The smartphones come loaded with discounted or free minutes renewed each month. For instance, Oklahoma Kentucky, Missouri residents get 750 minutes, 25MB of data, and unlimited talk and texts for free.
For Oklahoma tribal basic plans, it includes free unlimited talk and text and 2GB of data. Also, other plans pack unlimited talk and text plus data, first 2GB 4G LTE speed at $1.00, unlimited talk and text plus data, first 5GB 4G LTE speed at $15.0.
However, they are additional plans that are available for a recharge if you need to purchase an additional plan. It differs by the number of minutes, data, and internet speed. Other benefits include call waiting, 3-way calls, nationwide calling, caller ID, and voicemail.
8) Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the second largest telecommunication service provider. However, the Verizon lifeline assistance program offers amazing discounts and unlimited phone plans to both new and existing customers. Unfortunately, they do not offer free government phones but participates in the lifeline assisted program whereby a customer can bring his/her phone to use its services.
Once you receive your phone, you can bring it and subscribe to Verizon carrier to use its wireless services and enjoy internet plans for low-income families. There are two plans available at Verizon, for the tribal state, the $25.00 Lifeline Plan includes unlimited talks nights and weekends and unlimited text messaging. If you live in Lowa, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and New York, you may qualify for a $9.25 lifeline discount on top of your monthly cell plan.
Other benefits include,
- Caller ID
- Call forwarding
- Call waiting
- Three-way calling
9) Assist Wireless
Assist wireless offer free government smartphones and services of this company are currently available to states of Arkansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Maryland, and Missouri. However, the company offers prepaid plans and free lifeline phones to those who are eligible for the lifeline program. Besides, the company provides sim replacements at $25.
The Assist wireless plans differ from one state to the other, for Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, and Arkansas, you get 1000 texts and 1000-minute talk time, and 1GB free data with a non-tribal lifeline cost of $36 per month. The company is the top Oklahoma lifeline provider with unlimited texts and talk time and with up to 4GB of free data every month with a lifeline fee of $1.00 per month.
Other benefits include;
- Caller ID
- Call waiting
- Call forwarding
- 3-way calling
10) American Assistance
American Broadband and telecommunications bring American Assistance. The company contributes to the lifeline program by not only offering standard cell phones by giving free government touchscreen phones to the younger beneficiaries.
The program ensures that all Americans get the opportunities and enjoy services that phone brings with no monthly bills, no credit check, or annual contracts. The program covers more than 20 states, including Puerto Rico, Ohio, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, California, among other neighboring states.
Besides the free cell phone, the Californians enjoy unlimited voice calls and text with 4GB of data for free every month, and free nationwide cell phone coverage. However, the non-California residents get a free smartphone with a $25 activation fee. 500 free monthly minutes, unlimited text messages, and 3GB free data. Also, you can purchase additional top-ups on your plan by dialing #611 on your American Assistance cell phone or call 1.877.266.7212 or text using the same number.
11) Feel Safe Wireless
Feelsafe wireless offers qualified customers free lifeline government phones and free monthly phone plans. The successful applicants will need to participate in a government assistance program or have household income levels as stipulated in the federal poverty guidelines.
However, the applications can be either tribal or non-tribal households. Once qualified, certification lasts up to one year and needs to be activated annually to avoid program termination.
California plan includes unlimited talk, MMS, text, plus 2GB data, and 100 global texts. On the other hand, for Mississippi, Kentucky, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, states get 1000 minutes of talk time, 500Sms plus 500MB data. For Oklahoma, the offer includes tribal, unlimited talk, SMS, MMS. However, the non-tribal package has 1000 minutes of talk time, 500Sms, and 500MB data.
- Free 911
- Caller ID
- 3-way calling
- Call waiting
- Call forwarding
Wireless providers, in collaboration with the US Federal government, participate in the lifeline program to help low-income families access essential phone services by providing free government smartphones. Some companies offer nationwide coverage, while others are limited to specific states. Therefore, it’s advisable to be aware of the providers that provide services in your state. Read through this article to get full information on plans and free smartphone providers near you.