Getting a free government cell phone has become essential in the digital age where it connects almost everything and everyone. A so-called food stamp cellphone is the fastest and cheapest way to stay in contact with your family and friends, or it could be a lifesaver in times of emergencies or distress. Free government cell phones will also be your ticket to starting a career so employers can contact you once they want an interview or are ready to hire you.
The Lifeline Assistance program provides free government phones to people on food stamps and other reasons. It was initiated by the US government to help millions of Americans who don’t have access. This FCC-mandated program mandates several service companies to provide devices with mobile plans which include minutes and text every month. For example, Verizon usually includes 250 minutes or more of calls, text allowances, and some even offer data allocation. AT&T only offers a discounted rate on voice minutes.
Over 12 to 15 million Americans are already enjoying this benefit, allowing them to contact loved ones and stay in the loop for the next career opportunities. You only have to contact one of the best free government providers below to get started.
You can also check out this article if you are looking for free and affordable broadband or internet service.
*Updated August 2021
Best Free Government Cell Phones Services 2021
Here are the top providers of free government cell phones with call and text plans, data allowances, and minimal charges. You can click the names to go directly to their respective websites, and see what is on offer. If you need an easy guide for your state, look here.
Access Wireless provides a free phone that comes with up to 750 minutes of calls, unlimited text, and 200MB of mobile data every month. California residents get a better deal since the free plans go up a thousand minutes of call allowance together with unlimited text and 200MB of data.
You can apply for Access Wireless’ LifeLine free government cell phone service if you are a resident of the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin
American Assistance offers 500 minutes and 500 text messages on average for those who qualify for their LifeLine program. These allowances are lower than most of the other providers in this list, but you do get free features such as call waiting, three-way calling, voice mail, and caller ID.
American Assistance, which is also called American Broadband and Telecommunications is available in the following states: Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin
ASTAC is one of the LifeLine free government cell phone providers in the remote regions of North America, particularly in Alaska’s North Slope coast. The service also covers most of the other regions in Alaska and is one of the few ways that you can use to contact your friends and family in this remote region.
ASTAC offers unlimited calls and texts locally, so you have to pay a quarter for each minute of 411 calls. The company might also ask for a $200 deposit if you call long distance numbers regularly.
Assist Wireless comes with various free government phone plans, plus, you can apply for a newer device by simply signing a contract and submitting your older phone. Availing of this deal will add $15 credit to your account and 1GB of free data.
Assist Wireless also offers discounted prepaid plans so you don’t have to worry about the next bill. This LifeLine service is available in Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri, and Oklahoma which has specialized plans for both tribal and non-tribal applicants.
Assurance Wireless only offers 350 minutes of calls, but texting is unlimited and you get a larger data package of 500MB along with a free Android smartphone. California residents get unlimited calls, unlimited texts, and 5 GB of data, but users from other states can top up their plans with Virgin Mobile cards.
Assurance Wireless offers wide coverage in the following states with services coming in the future to those not listed: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin
Blue Jay Wireless offers a free government cell phone with 250 to 500 minutes of calls and free unlimited texting, while 500MB of data costs an additional $3.60. California residents get unlimited calls and texts, but the data package is fixed at $26 a month for 5GB.
BlueJay Wireless serves residents in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin, and Puerto Rico.
enTouch, also known as Boomerang, offers free cell phones with Free 500 minutes and a hundred text messages per month with only 10MB of Data. You can also avail of a 500MB Data plan, but its call and text are limited to 100 units per month. Non-tribal California residents get unlimited calls and text plus 500MB, but tribal users get unlimited calls and texts plus 2.4GB of data!
Non-California residents who are members of tribal communities also get a larger 750MB data pack with unlimited texts. enTouch Wireless is available in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, but is currently expanding to cover more states.
Feelsafe Wireless offers free government phones to low-income residents so they can enjoy the estimated 90% network coverage in 48 states. Feelsafe Wireless is available with affordable plans in the following states: Residents of California, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin
GCI offers plans that come with a free phone, unlimited nationwide texting, 500 minutes of nationwide calls, and 1GB of data for only $1. GCI will require identification from services such as SSI, Food Stamps, Medicaid, and other assistance programs before they allow you to avail of their amazing service. Unfortunately, for the rest of the American population, GCI is only available in the state of Alaska.
Infiniti Mobile provides free phones, unlimited calls, and texts, plus 2.5GB of data for only a dollar every month in Oklahoma. The company offers two plans, but they are limited to Oklahoma residents only.
Q Link Wireless also offers free government cell phones that come with a basic plan, but what’s fantastic about them is they will roll your unused allowances to the next month’s quota. You get 500 minutes of calls and unlimited text, and the unused voice allowance will add to the 500 mins you get next month.
Q Link Wireless also offers a bonus program that encourages you to refer your friends and family to the company, and you get an additional 100 minutes for every successful applicant. Q Link Wireless is available in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin
SafeLink Wireless can give you a free government cell phone that comes with 350 minutes of calls, unlimited texts, and 500 MB of data if you are qualified. California residents get a brand new Android phone with unlimited calls instead. Other states have to choose between a sim-only plan or one with a free budget model phone.
Sprocket Wireless in the rural areas of Oklahoma gives its residents a free phone with unlimited calls and texts for as low as $1. The service is limited to the following areas in the state: Broken Bow, Canadian, Checotah, Crowder, Dustin, Eufaula, Fairfax, Henryetta, Hugo, Idabel, Indianola, McAlester, Muskogee, Pawhuska, Okemah, Savannah, Seminole, and Stigler.
StandUp Wireless is one of the best when it comes to customer service since they will try and find the best fit for you at the most reasonable prices. You also get a grace period if you miss a payment, so the line doesn’t get cut immediately once the due date passes.
StandUp Wireless doesn’t allow outside phones, so you will automatically get a new phone if they qualify. However, you need to access their website or contact them personally to see if they can provide you with a plan in your current state.
TerraCom Wireless offers a free phone with 1000 minutes of calls and unlimited texting if you qualify for their LifeLine assistance program. This company services Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia, or Wisconsin.
Oklahoma residents, on the other hand, get a better deal since the TerraCom plan in the states has an additional 500MB of data for free every month.
TrueConnect provides 1000 minutes of calls, unlimited text, and 2GB of data in 24 states. International calls and texts to Mexico, China, and Canada are also part of the package for Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
California residents get a more upscale deal with unlimited talk and text, 2GB of data, and a 5-inch smartphone.
Are There Other Options To Get Free Government Cell Phones?
Some communications companies also provide discounted rates and plans for Lifeline-qualified individuals in some areas. Brands like ATT, Verizon, and US Connect offer these plans for those who are facing financial difficulties in some states. It is best to call your local provider’s customer service hotline to know more and to ensure that you are getting the best deal for your needs.