In today’s era, mobile phones are no longer a luxury. They have become a necessity, especially after the Covid pandemic. Now, from attending college lectures and office meetings to ordering stuff online and making transactions, everything is done through phones.
But not everyone can afford phones easily. They are quite costly. This is why the U.S.A. government is providing free phones to low-income people under programs like the Affordable Connectivity Program, Lifeline Assistance Program, etc. In this article, we will tell you what is the best free government phone program. Along with this, you will also get to know about the services that provide free government phones. So, without any further delay, let’s jump on to the main topic.
What is the Best Free Government Phone Program?
Do you want to get a free phone from the government but cannot decide what is the best free government phone program for you? Well, you do not need to worry. We will provide all the details of programs that provide free phones to people in need. Here are the two main programs that provide free phones to low-income people. Both of these programs are run by the federal government for the people of the U.S.A.
1. Lifeline Assistance Program
Lifeline Assistance Program is the original program that came with the idea of providing telecommunication services to low-income people. This program was started in the year 1985, and since then, they have been helping low-income people.
Earlier, they used to provide wired phones, one phone per household. But now, with the emergence of technology, they have been providing wireless phones instead of wired phones.
Although this is a government program, it is funded by brands like T-Mobile, Assurance Wireless, Verizon, AT&T, etc.. that work in collaboration with the government and provide free government phones to people.
2. Affordable Connectivity Program
When thinking about what is the best free government phone program, it is impossible to not mention the Affordable Connectivity Program. It is also a program by the U.S.A. government to provide free phones to low-income people. Along with free phones, they also provide free talk time, internet data, texts, etc.
Moreover, even if you do not qualify for a free mobile phone, you can even get discounted phones. They also provide other electronic gadgets like free tablets and laptops to people in need.
Here comes the main difference: while the LifeLine Assistance Program is funded by the service provider, the Affordable Connectivity Program is directly funded by the government. Also, while the primary focus of Lifeline is to provide phones, ACP focuses on overall broadband connectivity by providing not just phones but talk time, internet data, and texts as well.
Lifeline Assistance Program Vs. Affordable Connectivity Program: Differences and Similarities
Now that you have two options for what is the best free government phone program, you must be wondering what are the main differences and similarities between these programs. To solve all the confusion, in this section, we will tell you the main differences and similarities between Lifeline and ACP.
Here are the main differences:
|Lifeline Assistance Program
|Affordable Connectivity Program
|Came in the Year 1985.
|Came from Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) in response to COVID-19
|It provides free phones to low-income people
|It provides free phones to low-income people, as well as free internet data, free texts, and free talk time.
|The overall household income must be less than 135% of federal poverty guidelines and participation in federal assistance programs like SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, etc.
|All the qualifications for the Lifeline Assistance Program plus include Pell Grant recipients and those with significant income loss during COVID-19
|Up to $9.25 per month off on eligible services
|Up to $30 per month for broadband ($75 per month for households on Tribal lands)
One-time $100 discount for a connected device with a co-payment of $10-$50
|Providing phone (landline or mobile) or broadband service
|Providing broadband connectivity
Here are the main similarities:
|Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under FCC.
|One phone per household.
Eligibility For Free Phone Under ACP and Lifeline
After knowing about free government phone programs, it is time to have a look at the eligibility to get a free government phone. Because if you do not meet the eligibility criteria, you simply will not get the phone. These requirements can vary from program to program, as well as service to service. However, here are some of the common requirements:
- Age: Your age must be 18 years old.
- Citizenship and Residence: You must be a citizen as well as a resident of the U.S.A.
- Enrollment in Program: Participation in federal assistance programs like SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, etc.
- Income: The overall household income must be less than 135% of federal poverty guidelines.
- Documents: Age proof, residence proof, identity proof, income proof, and proof of enrollment in any of the programs mentioned above.
- Limit: You should not have received any wired or wireless phone under these programs.
How to Get a Free Phone Under ACP/Lifeline?
Here comes the main part: how to actually apply for a free phone under these programs. Well, you just need to follow the step-by-step process given below, and you will receive your free phone.
1. Select the Phone Provider
After deciding what is the best free government phone program for you, it is time to select which is the right phone provider service for you. For this, you will need to do your research. First of all, look for the services that provide free phones in your area. After this, look at the mobile phones and services that they offer. For example, if you want a free 5G phone or free iPhone, then you will need to find a service that provides these phones in your area.
2. Go to the Official Website and Check Eligibility
Once you have selected the service, now, you need to go to its official website and check eligibility. If you meet the requirements, then you can move ahead and click on the Application for Free Phones tab.
3. Fill Out the Form
After clicking on the tab, you will be redirected to the application form. You need to fill in all your details in the form. Make sure to attach all the required documents and recheck all the details.
4. Send the Application
Here comes the last step: submit the application. Now, if your application is approved, you will receive the phone in 7 to 15 days after approval. However, if your application is rejected, then you might need to send your application to some other phone-providing service.
Top 3 Free Phone Services
After knowing what is the best free government phone program for you, let’s focus on the companies that provide free phones to low-income people under the Affordable Connectivity Program as well as the Lifeline Assistance Program.
1. SafeLink Wireless
If you are looking for a reliable service that provides free phones to people in need, then SafeLink is the right option for you. It is one of the oldest as well as largest free phone providers in the U.S.A. Eligible customers get free mobile phones, talk time, unlimited texts, and free data every month. However, these offers may vary from state to state.
- A free phone (no model specified)
- Unlimited high-speed data (LTE/5G)
- Up to 10GB of hotspot data
- Unlimited talk time and texts
2. Assurance Wireless
The next free phone-providing service on our list is Assurance Wireless. Hands down, it is one of the most trusted brands in the U.S.A. However, in order to get free phones from Assurance Wireless, the eligibility typically involves meeting income criteria as well as being enrolled in a federal assistance program. Not just phones, but they also provide free tablets and laptops as well.
- Free 2.5GB of hotspot use
- A free phone
- Free unlimited data with 25GB of high-speed data
- Free unlimited talk time and texts
3. AT&T Wireless
If you are looking for a service that provides high-end free phones, like iPhones for free, then AT&T is perfect for you. Along with free devices, they also provide monthly services like data, text, and voice for eligible customers. In order to get a free device from AT&T, you just need to go to their official website, fill out the application form, and submit it. If you meet the eligibility, you will definitely get the phone.
- Free unlimited texts and talk time.
- Free data
- Hotspot data
- Free phone
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. How is the Lifeline Assistance Program different from the Affordable Connectivity Program?
The Lifeline Assistance Program has been operational since 1985, however, the Affordable Connectivity Program came after the COVID-19 pandemic. Other than this, Lifeline focuses on providing free phones, whereas ACP provides complete broadband connectivity that includes free phones as well as free talk time, data, texts, etc.
Q2. How can I get a free phone?
In order to get a free phone, first, you will need to check the eligibility criteria of the program. If you meet the eligibility criteria, then you can fill out the online or offline free phone form and receive the phone.
Q3. What are the factors to consider while selecting what is the best free government phone program?
While selecting, what is the best free government phone program for you, here are the most important factors that you must consider:
- Eligibility requirements
- Which program provides free phones in your area
- Other benefits like talk time, texts, and data.
- Phone model provided by the program.
- Time taken in the delivery of the phone.
After having all the details, we now hope you know what is the best free government phone program for you. Depending on your needs and the availability in your area, you can select any of the federal programs, the Lifeline Assistance Program as well as the Affordable Connectivity Program. Other than this, you might be able to find other state programs and organizations as well, that provide free phones in your area.