Free Phones are Available to Who?

A couple examining a Government Free Phone.
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Having a phone used to be a luxury when it was first presented to the world. However, in the modern world, it’s becoming a necessity, especially with the growth of technology.

Although everyone should have a phone, people with low incomes may find it challenging to afford one. That’s why some phone carriers provide qualifying people with a support opportunity through which they can get a phone for free! This opportunity is available through a federal assistance program, the Lifeline program. Many people may not be aware that this program exists, let alone the various perks it offers.

Another great support opportunity that may have extra assistance to offer is the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

Federal Support Opportunities with Phone Costs and More

When people think of federal support, they usually associate it with food, housing, education, and medical care. However, there is more that the government can help with than just that. This includes phone bills and internet services. Such support is available thanks to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). To be able to benefit from this support, you need to understand what options are available and how they work. For this reason, this article will focus on:

  • The Lifeline Program
  • The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
  • How Can I Get a Free Phone from the Government?

The Lifeline Program

In general, even if you do have a phone but need to lower your phone bill, you should apply for the Lifeline program. If you qualify, you will be able to get a monthly discount of up to $9.25. The program’s benefits typically apply to different communication services, such as telephone and broadband internet services or bundled voice-broadband packages. Additionally, the monthly discount amount might reach $34.25 for eligible people living on tribal lands.

Although the FCC makes this program available to participants, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) is responsible for its management in the states. That’s why you will need to contact the USAC to submit your application and get more information. The USAC determines applicants’ eligibility and helps them throughout the application and recertification processes.

There is more than one way to qualify for the Lifeline program. One of them is meeting the income level, which is 135% (or less) of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The program sets this requirement because it focuses on supporting low-income households. Another way to automatically qualify for the Lifeline program is to participate in one of the following programs:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Federal Public Housing
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Medicaid
  • Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
  • Specific Tribal Programs

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)

A lot of discounts are offered through ACP. Although it’s also available through the FCC, the eligibility requirements for this program are a bit different from the previous one. There are several situations where a household may be eligible for ACP, including:

  • A student in the family received a Pell Grant in the current academic year.
  • The household’s income does not exceed 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
  • You or your family are recipients of a qualifying federal support program, such as SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, and others.
  • The household meets the eligibility standards that a provider determines for internet service support programs.

There are plenty of benefits that come with ACP, including the following:

  • A one-time discount of up to $100 when buying a qualifying device, such as a tablet, a laptop, or a computer.
  • Up to a $30 monthly discount for eligible households on broadband service costs.
  • Families living on Tribal Lands can get up to a $75 monthly discount.

How Can I Get a Free Phone from the Government?

Even though it might sound suspicious, no one is actually trying to trick you here! Thanks to the Lifeline program, several phone carriers offer eligible people a phone for free. However, you should understand that not all companies provide this opportunity. So, if you want to take advantage of it, you should be aware of the participating carriers and where to find them since they don’t cover every location nationwide. If you are interested in this opportunity, you should check out the following carriers:

If you are not sure which one is available in your area, you can use the USAC online tool. It will help you find the nearest company that provides the Lifeline program and ACP. 

True Wireless

Connection, availability, and security are among the features that True Wireless aims to provide through affordable communication to eligible people. For this reason, this company offers a variety of support options to eligible consumers. These options may include:

  • Free LTE Android phone
  • Unlimited service
  • Free Android tablet

These assistance opportunities are available thanks to agreements between True Wireless and the federal programs ACP and the Lifeline program. 

TruConnect

You can find the nearest TruConnect provider to your location by searching via online or by zip code. You will want to get benefits from this carrier since there are so many! For example, through the Lifeline program, the company offers unlimited voice calls, messages, and international calls to certain countries. Moreover, ACP participants can get one (or more) of the following benefits:

  • A free Android phone 
  • Wi-Fi hotspot for free
  • Free wireless internet service
  • 14GB of high-speed data every month

Assurance Wireless

If you meet the state and federal eligibility requirements and qualify for the Lifeline program, you will be able to benefit from the free services available through Assurance Wireless. The benefits may include:

  • A free smartphone
  • Unlimited calls, messages, and mobile data at no cost
  • 10GB of free hotspot data

Safelink Wireless

If you have any reason to talk to someone in Canada or Mexico, you should consider Safelink Wireless. That’s because the company offers unlimited voice calls and messages to these two countries. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you will get additional benefits such as a free smartphone, 25GB of high-speed mobile data, and up to 5GB of hotspot data. 

Bottom Line

Having a phone is a necessity, especially with the rise of online learning, communication, jobs, and more. This small device that fits into your pocket holds tons of data that play a crucial role in shaping your world. With this in mind, it’s also a burden to some people who struggle to make ends meet. Luckily, the government created the Lifeline program and ACP to help low-income people afford their phone costs and even get a phone for free under certain conditions. If you want to take advantage of these opportunities, you will need to find a carrier that provides those services. Some examples of such carriers include:

  • True Wireless
  • TruConnect
  • Assurance Wireless
  • Safelink Wireless

Each carrier offers a different package of benefits and services, but they all provide valuable assistance. If you need more help, you can reach out to the USAC or the provider you’re using.

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