In today’s world, staying connected is essential. Whether it’s for work, school, or simply staying in touch with loved ones, having a cell phone is a must. However, the cost of cell phone service can be prohibitive for many people, especially those on low incomes.
The good news is that the government offers a program called Lifeline Assistance that can help low-income households afford essential phone and internet services. Lifeline can provide a discount on monthly phone service, as well as a free cell phone to eligible customers.
Eligibility Requirements For Free Government Cell Phone With Internet
To qualify for Lifeline Assistance, you must meet one of the following criteria:
- Have an income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
- Participate in one of the following government assistance programs:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
- Certain Tribal Programs
How to Apply for Lifeline Assistance
To apply for Lifeline Assistance, you can visit the Lifeline website or contact your local phone company. You will need to provide your income information and proof of eligibility for one of the government assistance programs listed above.
Once you have been approved for Lifeline Assistance, you can choose a participating phone company and plan. Most Lifeline providers offer a variety of plans to choose from, so you can find one that fits your needs and budget.
Getting a Free Government Cell Phone
Not all Lifeline providers offer free cell phones. However, some do, and there are also other government programs that can help you get a free cell phone.
One program that offers free cell phones is the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The ACP is a new federal program that replaces the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB). The ACP provides a discount of up to $30 per month on internet service and up to $75 per month on internet service for households on qualifying Tribal lands. The ACP also offers a one-time discount of up to $100 on the purchase of a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet.
To qualify for the ACP, you must meet the same eligibility requirements as Lifeline Assistance. You can apply for the ACP at the ACP website.
Another program that can help you get a free cell phone is the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Connect2Compete program. The Connect2Compete program provides discounted phone and internet service to eligible low-income households. The Connect2Compete program also offers a one-time discount of up to $150 on the purchase of a computer or tablet.
To qualify for the Connect2Compete program, you must meet the same eligibility requirements as Lifeline Assistance. You can apply for the Connect2Compete program at the Connect2Compete website.
Other Resources for Getting a Free Cell Phone
In addition to the government programs listed above, there are also a number of non-profit organizations that offer free cell phones to low-income individuals and families. Some of these organizations include:
- SafeLink Wireless
- Assurance Wireless
- Lifeline Support
- Free Government Cell Phones
To find a non-profit organization that offers free cell phones in your area, you can search online or contact your local United Way.
Tips for Choosing a Free Government Cell Phone Plan
When choosing a free government cell phone plan, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Coverage: Make sure the plan you choose offers coverage in the areas where you need it most.
- Data: Consider how much data you need each month. Some plans offer unlimited data, while others have data caps.
- Features: Think about the features that are important to you, such as text messaging, picture messaging, and voicemail.
- Price: Compare the prices of different plans to find one that fits your budget.
Tips for Saving Money on Your Cell Phone Bill
- Take advantage of government programs: If you qualify for Lifeline Assistance or the ACP, you can save a significant amount of money on your monthly phone bill.
- Shop around for the best deals: Compare the prices of different phone plans and providers to find the best deal for your needs.
- Bundle your services: Many phone companies offer discounts on cell phone service when you bundle it with other services, such as internet or TV.
- Use Wi-Fi whenever possible: When you’re connected to Wi-Fi, you won’t use any of your cellular data.
- Monitor your data usage: Most phone companies offer tools to help you monitor your data usage. This can help you avoid overage fees.
If you are a low-income individual or family, there are a number of ways to get a free government cell phone. By following the tips above, you can find a plan that meets your needs and budget.