What is the Free Government Cell Phone Lifeline Program?

Free Government Cell Phone PeopleThe Lifeline program provides free cell phones, free minutes every month, free data, and free texting to low-income individuals and families. This program is paid for by the Universal Service Fund which is funded by the major telecom companies. Qualifications for the program vary by state, but the general qualifications are:

  1. If you qualify for government assistance like Medicaid, Food Stamps, welfare, Section 8 housing, or many other government programs, you automatically qualify for Lifeline.
  2. If your yearly income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines for your state, you will qualify for a free cell phone.

Applying for a Free Government Cell Phone

Applying for a free cell phone with free monthly minutes, data, and texting is easy. Fill out the email form on the right for more information.

Our government strongly believes that phone service is a necessity in this day and age and so they went about creating this program so that even low income Americans can stay connected with their families, employers, medical care providers, etc. The program actually began in 1980s under President Ronald Reagan and offered landline phone service. However, in the 2000s it was updated to include cell phone service.

Lifeline free cell phone service is provided through private wireless carriers at no cost to the individual. Many of the largest wireless carriers offer some variation of lifeline service but most people choose to go with a wireless provider that only provides Lifeline service. The three largest providers are Q Link Wireless, Safelink, and Assurance.

The cell phone plans vary per company, however with Q Link Wireless, you receive an allotted amount of free monthly minutes, free data, and free texting. All providers also include cheap prepaid minutes, which can be purchased if all of the free monthly minutes are used.

Signing up for the service is very straight forward and you can get started here. You’ll have to put in your zip code and email address which will verify that you live in an area where Lifeline service is offered. After availability is confirmed, you put in your address where you would like to ship the phone and then you choose which plan you would like, as we mentioned above. Finally, you will have to confirm that you qualify based on low income or participation in a government assistance program.

Once you’ve gone through this quick application process, your new cell phone will be shipped to the address you provided!

It’s important to note you can only have ONE free government cell phone or Lifeline service in each household.


(i) the service is a Lifeline service; (ii) Lifeline is a government assistance program; (iii) the service may not be transferred to someone else; (iv) consumers must meet certain eligibility requirements before enrolling in the Lifeline program; (v) the Lifeline program permits only one Lifeline discount per household; (vi) documentation is necessary for enrollment; and (vii) Q LINK is the provider of the services.