Even if purchasing a cell phone and other monthly wireless services is not as costly as before, many people still struggle with owning one. Low-income households and unemployed people find it hard to pay for the phone and wireless services. This is gloomy considering that having a cell phone and staying connected to your family, education, job, and other emergency services is essential. This article will focus on how to get a free phone with food stamps to help you connect to the internet and enjoy other cellular services.
Fortunately, the American government has recognized that telecommunications are a basic need instead of a luxury. In 1980, the Federal Communication Commission, abbreviated as FCC, established a program known as Lifeline Assistance. The program is designed to ensure access to free government phones for low-income households. Later on, during the pandemic, another temporary program known as the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) was established by FCC to help low-income citizens connect in these uncertain times.
All Lifeline Wireless providers offer a discount on cellular wireless services. Some even provide free or discounted cell phones for Lifeline and ACP eligible people. You know what? If you participate in the Food Stamp Program, you are eligible for Lifeline and ACP. To learn more about how to get a free phone with Food Stamps and which type of cell phone you expect to get, read the below parts of the article.
Is It Promising to Get A Free Phone With Food Stamps
If you participate in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps, you can qualify for Lifeline Assistance and ACP programs. Suppose you are a United States of America resident who is a SNAP participant. In that case, you are qualified to get both a monthly discount on wireless services and free government smartphones.
As mentioned earlier, some Lifeline wireless providers offer only discounted cellular services. However, many offer free or discounted mobile phones to Lifeline and ACP-eligible customers. The phone you can get depends on the type of Lifeline provider.
Many Lifeline providers offer free or discounted mid-range smartphones. However, some offer high-end devices subject to availability in your state. Thus, it is possible to get a free phone with Food Stamps; you are Lifeline eligible as a Food Stamp participant.
The Steps To Get A Free Phone With Food Stamps
You have to follow a few simple steps outlined below to get a free government phone.
i) Must Be Lifeline or ACP Eligible
Lifeline Assistance is a government program designed to ensure access to free government phones and other wireless services for low-income households. Unlike the ACP program, the program is permanent, which is designed to help households struggling to afford internet service during the pandemic.
To be Lifeline-eligible, you have to meet the FCC’s criteria, which is general for all Lifeline wireless providers. You are eligible if you meet one or more of the below criteria.
- Has an income level below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
- You are a participant in specific federal assistance programs such as Federal Public Housing Assistance, Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, specific Tribal Programs, and the Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit.
If you are Lifeline-eligible, you are also ACP eligible since the above criteria are identical. However, you can be ACP-eligible if you have;
- Received a federal Pell Grant in the present award year
- Experienced a substantial loss of income due to employment loss or leave since February 29, 2020. The household had an overall income at or below $99000 for single filers and $198000 for dual filers in 2020.
ii) Verification by the National Verifier
Once you have established and verified by the National Verifier that you are indeed Lifeline or ACP eligible, look for a Lifeline or ACP wireless provider that offers the services in your state. The provider should also offer free government phones.
ii) Contact the Lifeline Wireless provider
If you have found the Lifeline provider that offers free government phones in your state, you need to contact them. It would help if you asked them how to apply for their program and get a free mobile phone.
The provider’s customer support will direct you to an online application site. You are needed to provide certain information and documentation that authenticates your identity and proves your eligibility. Once through with the provision of the information, the provider will take some time to review your application.
Once the review gets completed, they will notify you whether or not you qualify for their program and benefits. They will also notify you what to do or expect next and about when to expect to get your free mobile phone.
Eligibility Criteria for Food Stamps
To be eligible for Food Stamp Program under Federal rules, your household’s income and resources must meet the following three tests:
- Assets have to fall below some limits. A household without a member who is elderly, a person considered to be 60 or more years old, or who has a disability must own assets of $2500 or less, and households with such a member must own assets of $3750 or less.
- The household’s net income must be at or below the poverty line.
- The household’s gross monthly income must be at or below 130% of the poverty guideline. The poverty line is higher for larger families and lower for small families.
Note that you might not be SNAP-eligible, regardless of whether you meet the above tests. You are not SNAP-eligible by default if you fall in the below categories.
- Unauthorized immigrants
- People on strike
- Students attending college more than half the time
- Some authorized immigrants
Furthermore, unemployed adults without children in the home who are not disabled are limited to three months of Food Stamp benefits every three years in many states.
Providers That Offer A Free Phone With Food Stamps
1) Cintex Wireless
Cintex is a Lifeline and ACP provider. The provider offers free wireless services and mobile devices in the following states; Maine, Maryland, West Virginia, Arkansas, and Rhode Island. As part of their Lifeline program, you can get a mid-range smartphone. However, as a part of their ACP program, you may get free government tablets depending on availability.
To apply for their free phones, you need to visit their website and provide your ZIP code and email ID to sign up. Then provide all necessary information and documentation to prove your eligibility. You will receive your free phone within a few days.
2) Qlink Wireless
It is the fastest-growing cellphone company that understands the great importance of communications. In addition, the company works hard to ensure everyone is connected wirelessly. One of the most trusted and reliable providers has collaborated with the government to offer free smartphones to eligible customers through the Lifeline Assistance program.
You can visit Qlink offices or the official website to apply for your free phone. After submitting, they will review your information and documentation to prove you qualify. In some cases, they contact you for an interview and later take two to three weeks to have your phone delivered.
3) NewPhone Wireless
It is another popular provider of Lifeline and ACP programs. They offer both monthly wireless services and free government smartphones to customers in need through the ACP program. To receive your phone through the Food Stamp, you must meet the discussed eligibility criteria in the article.
You need to visit their website and apply online. Fill in the necessary information and sign up. All the provided information will be verified and reviewed within a short period, and they will contact you on how to receive your phone. Expect to receive your free smartphone within 7-10 business days. The shipping cost is completely free of charge.
4) Safelink Wireless
It is one of the renowned and largest free landline phones for seniors provider companies in the United States. To qualify for the Safelink wireless free cell phone services, you must participate in an assistance program supported by the federal government. You can also receive the services if you participate in Food Stamps programs.
Visit their official website to apply for your free phone, and you will receive it within a few business days. Applicants should attach documents to prove their application details based on their income and SNAP participation.
5) Assist Wireless
The wireless provider entirely supports low-income families, seniors, and Veterans through the Lifeline Assistance program. They offer free and highly discounted wireless services and free government mobile phones. The provider believes that every household needs to be connected and experience the benefits of owning a cell phone in 2021.
Your household must meet the qualifying criteria discussed to qualify for the Assist Assistance program. You can apply either by visiting their website or via standard mail or visiting a local dealer.
Getting a free government smartphone is all possible with the Lifeline Assistance program. It is a program that provides free cell phone services with free monthly talk, text, and data to those who qualify. You will quickly get the benefits if you have a low income or participate in a government benefit program like SNAP, formerly Food Stamps. This article has touched on the eligibility criteria, applying for the program, and the wireless providers offering free government phones. Apply yours today and thank me later.