How Do I Qualify?

The Federal and State Government launched a Lifeline program to provide free cell phones with 250 minutes of free talk time to the low income families so that they can keep in touch with life-savers like emergency services, medical services, schools and libraries.  With more than eight million people under the shade of this program, it seems to be one of the most successful government programs ever.  However, there are certain criteria to be eligible for this program.  You need to fulfill all those criteria to get a free cell phone with airtime from the government.  With the economy going down every year, more people are being eligible for this program.  At present, this program is available in all 36 states.  The criteria may vary a little depending on the state you live in.

There are many government-approved telecom companies that provide this service to the eligible people.  You need to contact them to avail this facility provided by government.  If you apply for the program, they will verify your documents and send out your phone.

Although features and facilities offered by different telecom companies may vary slightly, the eligibility criteria are the same in all companies as this program is maintained by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC.)

Two categories of people qualify for this government-assisted program.  To qualify: your household income should be equal to or lower than 135% to 150% (for Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Rhode Island and Texas) and you need to be a registered member of any of the following listed government assisted program:

  • National School Lunch free lunch program
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Food Stamps
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program
  • Medicaid
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

Under Lifeline program only one cell phone per home is provided and you must have a valid home address to be able to receive the phone.