A mobile phone does more than just make phone calls. We use smartphones to browse the internet, get directions, and stay connected to friends, family, and employers. However, phones and plans are expensive, and they can be unaffordable for some households.
Fortunately, the government can help reduce the costs. Certain families may qualify for financial assistance to get a free phone and to lower the monthly expense. The Lifeline Assistance program gives low-income families the opportunity to have access to all the benefits of a mobile phone.
The federal government has several assistance programs to help low-income households and at-need individuals get financial help. Needy families can obtain help paying for everyday essentials, such as food stamps for groceries.
Beneficiaries of some of these programs are eligible for help from the Lifeline Assistance program. You likely qualify for enrollment in the program if you are currently enrolled in:
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly known as food stamps
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Tribal Programs (and live on federally-recognized Tribal lands)
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
When applying to the Lifeline Assistance program, you will need to show proof of enrollment in one of the programs. You can include a letter, card, or official document with your application.
Households that earn 135 percent or less of the federal poverty guidelines are also eligible to enroll in the program. To show you meet the income requirements, include documents about your wages, such as pay stubs and tax returns.
In addition to details about program enrollment and income, the application will need information about your household. For example, you will need to share the number of family members in the household.
You will then have a limited time to pick a participating phone company. Within 90 days of enrollment into the program, you will need to sign up for a qualifying phone and plan.
Qualified applicants can get free cell phones and free or cheap plans. Find out more about participating mobile providers and service details.