Want a Free Phone? Our Guide to the Lifeline Assistance Program

In today’s fast-paced and interconnected world, having access to a reliable phone is important for staying informed and accessing essential services. However, the high cost of smartphones and mobile plans could be a significant barrier for low-income individuals and families.

Thanks to the government Lifeline Assistance program, low-income individuals and families may qualify for free phones and inexpensive phone plans.

Here’s a detailed guide on how you may be able to get a free phone from the Lifeline Assistance Program. We’ll cover everything from qualifying requirements to the application process to ensure you’re taking all the right steps.

What is the Federal Lifeline Assistance Program?

The Lifeline Assistance Program is a government-supported program aimed to ensure that eligible low-income individuals and families could access essential communication services by providing a free cell phone and a set amount of free minutes and data each month. Established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1985, the program has evolved over the years to meet the changing needs of consumers while promoting digital inclusion for all Americans.

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

Federal or State Assistance Program-based Eligibility:

To be eligible for the Lifeline Assistance Program, you must meet certain income requirements or participate in certain government assistance programs. These programs include:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps or SNAP)
  • Medicaid
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
  • Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit
  • Tribal Head Start


You may have to show proof of participation, like a benefits letter or official document, when you apply for Lifeline.

Income-Based Eligibility

You may be eligible for Lifeline service if your total household income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines, which vary depending on the size of your household and the state you live in. It includes all taxable and non-taxable income, such as wages, salaries, interest, dividends, spousal support and child support, grants, gifts, inheritances, allowances, stipends, public-assistance payments, social security and pensions, rental income, lottery winnings, income from self-employment and cash payments from other sources, and all employment-related, non-cash income.

The table below reflects 135% of the 2023 Federal Poverty Guidelines.



  1. Each year the income-eligibility requirements for the Lifeline Program may change. You may be required to complete the provider household worksheet to help determine your total income.
  2. You may have to show proof of income, like a tax return or three consecutive pay stubs, when you apply for Lifeline.

How to Apply for the Lifeline Assistance Program

If you think you might be eligible for the Lifeline Assistance Program, the next step is to apply. The application process is simple and straightforward, and can be completed in a few easy steps.

  1. Select an approved Lifeline service provider in your area.
  2. Collect your eligibility documentation, such as proof of income or participation in a qualifying government assistance program.
  3. Complete the Lifeline Assistance Programme application and submit it together with your eligibility paperwork.
  4. Wait for confirmation.
  5. If approved, choose your free phone and start using your free minutes and data.

Final Thoughts

Securing a free phone through the US government’s Lifeline Assistance Program could be a great way to stay connected without hurting your budget. The application process is simple and qualified individuals are encouraged to apply for the program. If you or someone you know requires affordable communication services, it might be time to apply for the Lifeline Assistance Program free phone.


Leave a Comment