Do You Qualify for a Free Government Cell Phone?

Do You Qualify for a Free Government Cell Phone?

How much are you paying on your cell phone bill every month? If you are struggling to make ends meet and pay your monthly cell phone bill, there’s a chance you don’t actually have to pay for your cell phone service! Believe it or not, but there is such a thing as a free government cell phone program, and you may very well be in its target group.

This is not a scam. There are a lot of free cell phone scams out there, but this program is 100% real and offered through the government itself. Ready to learn more and learn if you qualify for this great program?  Well, you have come to the right place!  On this website, you will learn everything you need to know to apply for a free government cell phone and free cell phone service.  We are a one stop shop to learn anything and everything you need to know about the Lifeline Assistance free government cell phone program.

Lifeline Assistance

The program is called “Lifeline Assistance.” It is sometimes called “free government cell phone” or “Obama phone,” though the third name is a misnomer, because the program has actually been around since the Reagan era. Back then of course it only covered landlines, but in recent years it has been expanded to cover cell phones. Lifeline is so named because a phone offers a “lifeline” to friends and family, government workers, doctors, emergency workers, potential employers, temp agencies, and others.

With Lifeline Assistance, you can get a free cell phone for your household if you qualify based on your income or your participation in a government assistance programs. You can still choose a landline if you prefer. If you qualify, you will not have to pay connection fees, and you will not be required to sign any sort of contract. You also will not have to pay a deposit on your line or monthly surcharges. You just need to get re-certified once a year.

If you do a little research online, you are likely to run into a lot of positives as well as a lot of negatives. You may find some people saying that free government cell phones are a scam, but these reviews are from people who either got rejected or applied to a fake program that had nothing to do with Lifeline. Right now there really are eight million Americans enjoying the courtesy of a free government cell phone!

Lifeline Assistance is spreading quickly all over the country, spreading even to rural areas. If you still live in a state or area without free government cell phone service, you probably can get a free landline. There is also a good chance you will be able to qualify for a free cell phone in the near future as more providers set up shop in under-served areas.

Who Pays for Lifeline Assistance?

When you apply for a free government cell phone, you receive a modern, high-quality phone absolutely free. In most states, you cannot get the latest model (that is changing in California) with all the fancy bells and whistles, but you will get a high-quality phone. The most popular type is the Kyocera Jax. On most free cell phone plans, you will receive 60 to 250 free domestic minutes per month (many of the plans at the lower end of that bracket include international minutes) as well as around 250 texts per month. Yes, that is not a ton of time, but it is still free, and may be more than sufficient for emergency needs and contact with potential employers. If you want additional minutes and texts, many companies offer you the opportunity to purchase more at a low cost (typically in the $5 to $30 range). You do not have to purchase more time if you do not wish to.

In summary, you do not pay for a free government cell phone. The money actually comes out of something called the “Universal Service Fund.” This is a small fee that is tacked onto the bills of paying phone subscribers. So it is not technically taxpayers who pay for this service—it is phone subscribers only. In other words, those who can afford to pay for their cell phones pay a little extra to support those who can’t.

Where Can You Get Free Government Cell Phone?

How do you get started looking for a free government cell phone, and bypass all the scams out there? The US government partners with a number of different companies throughout the country to distribute Lifeline Assistance phones and provide services. Some are regional to a few states, while others offer service in most of them. Here are some of the most popular providers:

  • Assurance Wireless: This company is a Sprint subsidiary managed by Virgin Mobile. It is growing rapidly and offers service in dozens of states.
  • SafeLink Wireless: This is another big company offering service in more than 30 states. It is managed by Miami-based Tracfone.
  • Reachout Wireless: This company is managed by Nexus Communications and is also rapidly expanding service throughout the USA.

Your next question is probably, “What’s in it for them?” The answer takes us back to the Universal Service Fund. Obviously these companies do not want to offer you something for nothing. The government reimburses them from the Universal Service Fund, so it is a low risk proposition for them. How do they actually profit? Many customers opt to add on minutes, texts and data for an additional fee. Enough customers upgrade their free government cell phone service to paid service that the companies are able to reap a profit.

All the companies mentioned above and all the other companies we recommend here on our site are compliant with government standards and requirements. Check out our summaries and reviews to find out which companies offer free government cell phone service in your area. On our site, you can compare plans and learn more about each. This will help you decide where to apply. Once you apply, your application will be evaluated, and if you qualify, you will be sent a free cell phone!

Do I Qualify?

If you are living at or close to the federal poverty level, or you are already receiving assistance through another government program (federal or state), there is a good chance you qualify for a free government cell phone! Interested in signing up or learning more? Please click the link below.

Find Out if You Qualify

  • Maria lozano I need. Another phone. But. I. Put. Minutes. Warn out.

    • Free Government Phones

      Hello Maria,
      Please contact your cell phone operator and they should be able to provide you with a new cell phone while maintaining your minutes.

      Best of luck,

  • Maria Lozano

    Need a new phone. Warn out. Here. To voice

    • Free Government Phones

      Hello Maria,
      Please visit any one of the free government cell phone provider pages on this website to learn if free government cell phones are available in your state and learn how you can qualify. You can then contact the cell phone operator to learn how you can apply.

      Best of luck,


    can I get a free phone if I live in a nursing home ???

    • Free Government Phones

      Dear Daryl,
      The FTC recently changed eligibility criteria for the Lifeline Assistance program, which now allows people who reside in group homes, such as nursing homes, eligible for free cell phone service.

      Please let us know if you have any additional questions.

      Warm regards,

  • Maria Lozano

    I got mine 4 year alredy insurance

  • Jackie

    My sister qualified, she has MS and is legally blind in one eye and the phone she received is 2 inches wide by 4 inches long. After 1 hour on the phone with Assurance wireless, three different people we were told that she could purchase an upgraded phone if she can’t use this one! That they only provide this tiny one… Doesn’t sound legal that they don’t have to meet the needs of the users especially when they qualified for this Lifeline program! Not sure what to do to get her a phone she can use!

  • charles david

    My children were looking for Canada SGI Bill of Sale/Letter of Gift several days ago and were made aware of an excellent service with 6 million forms . If people need Canada SGI Bill of Sale/Letter of Gift too , here’s