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Us Government Cell Phone Program

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Us Mobile Unlimited Talk And Text Plan

Bakersfield low-income residents can get a free cell phone through government program

The only way to bring your bill lower than $10 a month is to throw out your data plan altogether. If you know you don’t want to pay for any wireless data, the US Mobile Unlimited Talk and Text plan at $7 a month is your best bet. Bonus, US Mobile operates on both T-Mobile and Verizon networks, which offer excellent coverage.

Check out our cell phone deals page that is updated weekly.

There Are Other Ways To Get A Free Mobile Phone

  • Many mobile phone operators, especially MVNOs, offer free mobile phones to customers who sign up for a new mobile phone plan. Free smartphones are often offered by Boost Mobile, Cricket Wireless, Metro by T-Mobile, and other smaller carriers. Whats more, their plans are also typically much more affordable than those of the major trucking companies.
  • If you choose an instant refund, you will receive a free phone credited to the full price of the phone.
  • Limited-time offers are also available. If you buy another phone at the same time, you can get a second one for free. Offers like these are usually applied as credits toward your monthly service plan.
  • You may be able to get a free phone if you switch your phone number, activate a new account, and bring your existing phone number.

What Is The Lifeline Program

Before we talk about the best options for getting a free phone plan from the government, lets talk about Lifeline. Lifeline is a federal program that helps subsidize the cost of phone and internet services. Established in 1985 during the Reagan administration, the Lifeline government benefit allows low-income Americans to get phone service for free or at discounted rates.

In 2016, the Lifeline program received an update that added data services to the list of offerings. This enables low-income citizens to use data to access the internet in addition to receiving voice and texting services. Lifeline is available in all fifty states, all United States territories, and on tribal lands.

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What You Need For Apply For A Discounted Communications Service Through The Lifeline Program


Lifeline is a federal program that provides free or low-cost phone or internet service to low-income households through a monthly service discount of up to $9.25. Lifeline subscribers have the choice of applying their benefit discount to either home phone service home internet service, where available, or a wireless phone plan with data. The Lifeline Program subsidy does not cover the cost of a wireless device, but some Lifeline Providers may choose to offer an initial wireless device upon completing enrollment. If you have a mobile device you would like to use with your Lifeline service, please contact the Lifeline wireless service provider prior to completing enrollment to see if your device is compatible with the providers network.

Only one Lifeline program discount is available per household, which is defined as any individual or group of individuals who live together at the same address and share income and expenses. Therefore, if there are multiple people living at the same address, but they do not share income, each individual will be eligible for Lifeline service.


There are two ways to qualify for the Lifeline program: income-based eligibility or program-based eligibility .

A full list of eligibility criteria, including the federal poverty guidelines, is available here: .

The National Verifier will return an eligibility decision by mail or email, if provided, within 7-10 days.

Why Is It Important

Bakersfield low

What began as a program to provide low-income senior citizens with land line telephone service has turned into an essential resource for many Americans. These days, phones are much more than just a convenience or a luxury our phones are a source of connection and security and a critical part of maintaining a productive, dignified lifestyle.

We use our phones to stay connected with friends and family and our employers, medical providers, schools, and more. When were in danger, we call for help. Many people trying to get a job also need a phone so that their potential employers can contact them for interviews and scheduling.

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What Documents Do You Need When Applying For A Lifeline Phone

Lifeline Assistance requires applicants to submit supporting documents proving their identity, age, and income, such as:

  • Government-issued ID card
  • Proof of program eligibility
  • Proof of life

Note: Submit all required paperwork as soon as you can. Lifeline Assistance only gives applicants 45 days to accomplish their application forms.

Next Steps For Apply For A Discounted Communications Service Through The Lifeline Program

The National Verifier will return an eligibility decision by mail or email, if provided, within 7-10 days.

Any questions about the application process or eligibility documentation can also be directed to USAC via the Lifeline Support Center at 1-800-234-9473. The Lifeline Support Center operates 7 days a week from 9am to 9pm and continues to review applications during this period.

You will have 90 days to choose a provider and sign up for Lifeline service with them once USAC approves your eligibility. For a list of Lifeline providers in your area, visit the USAC website and enter your zip code.

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Online Marketplace & Social Media

If you dont qualify for the programs listed above, turn to third-party donations on social media. You might not come across many programs. However, youll definitely spot at least one or two opportunities to score free or discounted smartphones.


Look for local yard sales on Craigslist. You might spot a few super-cheap phones since most people hosting yard sales want to dispose of clutter quickly.

However, keep in mind that these phones might be damaged. If you cant perform basic repairs and parts replacements, youll have to hire an experienced smartphone technician.

On the upside, damages leave room for haggling. Enumerate all the issues you spot, compute the projected repair cost, then negotiate for a lower, more reasonable price.

If youre lucky, you might encounter sellers who are willing to give away their damaged phones as freebies or package deals for their other items for sale.


OfferUp is an eCommerce platform similar to Craigslist. However, instead of searching for yard sales, youll have better luck scouring online product listings.

Note that most people on OfferUp want to sell their phones. Dont get discouraged if you come out empty-handed on the first few days of your search.

To increase your chances of securing free phones, sort your listings by date and price. Prioritize the cheapest, oldest listings. You might convince the seller to give you their phone for just a couple of bucks if theyve had no luck selling it.

Facebook Marketplace

Does At& t Offer Free Government Phones

GovernmentCellPhone org

AT& T Mobility is the name of the wireless service provided by phone company giant AT& T. The company has been around for more than 100 years and while it doesnt offer a free government cell phone program, it does offer a Discount Lifeline program for needy Americans who can prove that they are eligible.

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What Kind Of Phones Can I Get

You usually won’t know what kind of phone you can get until you go through the approval process, though most of the Lifeline Assistance-eligible carriers do a decent job offering a variety of phones. Sadly, you likely won’t find the iPhone 11, iPhone SE, or a new Android phone with these carriers, but there are still plenty of smartphones out there that you can get for super cheap or even free. Yup, thats right: a potential free smartphone.

To give you an idea of what to expect, Assurance Wireless has its cell phone lineup public. You can find phones like Coolpad Illumina and Coolpad Legacy.

You can also find other smartphones like the Alcatel Dawn, Kyocera Hydro Reach, and ZTE Prestige 2.

Lifeline Program For Low


Lifeline Fraud Tip Line: 1-855-4LL-TIPS or . Please provide as much detail as possible, including your name and contact information and the company you are using to receive Lifeline-supported phone service.

The FCC is currently developing the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program that Congress created in the recent COVID relief legislation. Program specifics will be available in the coming weeks. Consumers should contact broadband providers that serve their area to learn more about current low cost offerings.

Since 1985, the Lifeline program has provided a discount on phone service for qualifying low-income consumers to ensure that all Americans have the opportunities and security that phone service brings, including being able to connect to jobs, family and emergency services. Lifeline is part of the Universal Service Fund. The Lifeline program is available to eligible low-income consumers in every state, territory, commonwealth, and on Tribal lands.

The Lifeline program is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company . USAC is responsible for data collection and maintenance, support calculation, and disbursement for the low-income program. USACs website provides information regarding administrative aspects of the low-income program, as well as program requirements.

Below are highlights of the reforms made in the 2016 Lifeline Modernization Order:

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Who Qualifies For Free Phones And Free Cell Phone Service

You can qualify for Lifeline Assistance in three easy steps:

Step 1: Pass the Initial Screening

The Lifeline Assistance programs typically cater to low-income applicants with a household income equivalent to 135% of or less than the federal poverty threshold.

If not, you should at least be in any government grant or program, such as:

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • Head Start
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
  • Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit

If you meet any of the requirements listed above, head over to their site and fill out their application form.

Step 2: Choose a Phone Carrier

Does AT& T offer free government phones? Yes! Carriers like T-Mobile and AT& T accommodate Lifeline Assistance applicants.

Note: You have 90 days after qualification to choose a phone carrier.

Step 3: Finalize the Application

Once you have chosen your carrier, the Lifeline Assistance team will explain the cell phones and phone lines that you can get.

What People Are Saying

Free Government Phone Program for Low Income Americans ...
  • I am disabled & don’t get around as easily as I used to. I also have other health issues that could escalate quickly. I can’t begin to tell you how much safer I feel carrying my phone with me. I have been able to get out more knowing that help is right in my pocket if I need it. And it’s wonderful for my health care workers, friends & family to be able to reach me anywhere. I feel so much more secure & in control with my wireless phone! Thank you for your help! And thank you for offering free cell phone service.

    Katherine M – Davenport, IA

  • Wish I would have known years ago that there was free cell phone service through the government phone program and free mins available to people like me. Was spending money on base model phones and plans and even splurged on the iPhone and spent around $1,200 before not being able to keep up with the bill. Looking back, I wish I could have just gotten one of the free phones and plans available out there including reachout wireless, safelink and others.

    Brock H.– Ashville, OH

  • My phone has made it possible for me to communicate with my many doctors and my lawyer while I am going thru the process of getting SSDI. Thank you for this free cell phone service. I also really like that I can add minutes for a small fee when I have extra things going on that month. Thanks for your service!

    Lisa S., Sturgis– MI

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    How To Change Lifeline Companies

    All Lifeline providers are not the same. You may want to switch providers because you do not like the current service, you need a phone upgrade, you want more voice minutes and text messages, or your Lifeline operator may have left the Lifeline Assistance initiative. Link-Up services dont lock subscribers into yearly contracts. If you are getting poor customer service, the first thing you can do is to launch a complaint with the FCC. And if the situation doesnt improve, then you can even change your cell phone provider.

    Most customers believe that they must first end their service with the current operator before joining a new carrier. But the Universal Service Administrative Company has a different approach to a Benefit Transfer or switching Lifeline providers. The USAC allows you to change cell phone companies if you have been on the service for a minimum of 60 days. The best thing is to ensure you cancel your previous provider to avoid being on multiple Lifeline services as it might lead to termination of your benefits.

    Here is what you can do to switch Lifeline wireless providers:

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    What Is The Lifeline Assistance Program

    Lifeline Assistance is the Federal Communication Commission’s long running program designed to provide equal access to phone service for all Americans. It specifically caters to low-income residents who may not otherwise be able to afford a cell phone device or plan. The program entitles those who are eligible to wireless service for $9.25/month. It also applies to internet service, also priced at $9.25/month.

    You can read more about the Lifeline program here.

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    Plans For Cheap Mobile Phones

    There are plenty of cheap plans for cell phones available if you do not qualify for the Lifeline assistance program. The plans listed below are among the cheapest available right now.

    US Mobile

    In addition to US Mobile, Verizons powerful network serves as the only provider of wireless service to the company. If you are interested in 3.5GB of data and unlimited talk and text, you should look into the US Mobile plan, which includes both for $12 per month. There is some additional cost to this plan, but you get unlimited talk and text, as well as more than triple the data.


    Nashville-based Twigby operates on the Sprint and Verizon networks via virtual mobile operators. In addition to getting 200 extra minutes per month, the plan highlighted below costs a few dollars more than Gen Mobile.

    Twigby sells cheap phones, the cheapest of which is the Alcatel Cinch for $15. The Unimax Express costs $ 34 if you want something that looks more like a smartphone today.

    Gen Mobile

    The Sprint network is home to Gen Mobile, a smaller wireless carrier. There are a variety of plans available, starting at $ 6 per month and going up to $ 25 per month. For 6 dollars per month, you can get 300 minutes of talk time, unlimited texts, and 1GB of data.

    Frequently asked Question

    Requirements To Apply For Lifeline Assistance

    For Lifeline Assistance, simple requirements provide the federal government with a guide for determining if a family lives near the poverty line, and therefore qualifies for the programs services and benefits. . .

    Following that, we will discuss the relevant parameters so you will know if you qualify for the Lifeline Assistance program.

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    Number : Enroll For Right Company

    Applying online is by far the easiest way. Lifeline plans can normally be applied for through your wireless providers website: on the providers website, search for Lifeline and then click the Apply button, Enroll , Start or an equivalent.

    Ask the company to send you a Lifeline application if you prefer to apply by mail or in person. No matter which form you choose, you must enter your full legal name, your date of birth, the last four digits of your Social Security number, and your address.

    Additionally, you will be required to provide copies of the supporting documents according to the previous section. If your application is approved, you will be able to take advantage of its benefits.

    How To Apply Apply For A Discounted Communications Service Through The Lifeline Program


    Apply online by visiting You will need to create an account and enter all required information. Upon submission, an eligibility determination will be immediately returned. If the National Verifier cannot prove eligibility automatically, you will need to upload your proof of eligibility document directly to the website for further review.

    COVID-19 Update: the DTC recommends applying online, not by mail, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although USAC continues to operate during this time, USAC offices are closed and mailed applications may therefore be subject to delays in processing. For help applying, contact the DTC

    Apply by mail by submitting a paper application directly to the Lifeline Support Center. If applying by mail, you should be sure to submit a completed Lifeline application and a copy of her proof of eligibility documentation to:

    Lifeline Support Center

    London, KY 40742

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    What Kind Of Free Or Discounted Phones Can You Get

    Lifeline Assistance Program applicants only find out which phones they qualify for after the screening process. The program matches you with a suitable device and discount.

    However, no matter what your situation is, dont expect to get the newer iPhone and Samsung phones for freeor even at discounted rates. Of course, youll still receive a reliable, fully functioning Android phone.

    The program offers an extensive cell phone lineup of smartphones and tactile phones, which include:

    • Coolpad Haylo
    • ZTE PrestigeTM 2

    Federal Poverty Guidelines For Your Household Size

    The Obama Phone Free Government Cell Phones Program ...

    Using the Federal Poverty Guidelines, assistance programs determine which beneficiaries will receive assistance. The amounts of income recorded by individuals or families are, at the end of the day, those that conform to the established margins.

    Family group members
    • from lotteries and other games of chance.
    • Among other things.

    In addition to the men and women who share a house or space, the expenses of the same must be taken into account. Residents do not have to be related or family members.

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