Yes, it is possible to switch Lifeline service providers for any reason, but you have to take a few steps and follow some rules. There are several reasons, but it could something as simple as wanting better service or a better phone. These free government cell phone companies also take customer service seriously like their regular counterparts, so chances are, you will get the improvements that you need.
Why Switch Lifeline Free Government Cell Phone Providers?
The primary reason many want to make the switch would be to look for better service such as signal coverage or more minutes, text, and data. Another would be if you want a better phone since your older or current one is quite slow or less capable by today’s standards. We recommend going with an established company in your state versus a new one or finding a low-cost alternative like the suggestions listed in this guide (click the link).
Understanding the Lifeline Program
The Lifeline Program is a federally funded US government program that helps low-income users get access to communication and the devices necessary for it. However, it is important to understand that the companies or service providers like those listed in this guide are the ones that are giving you the privilege of getting a free phone and the communications service that comes with it.
The federal government simply reimburses or refunds these companies for the costs using dedicated funds gathered from the tax citizens pay. This why it is important to choose the best brand that will serve you your area well while understanding their terms and conditions. Users are still bound by rules set by the companies and the Federal Communications Commission.
How to Process and Switch Lifeline Free Government Cell Phone Providers
It is your right to change your Lifeline service provider as long as you have used their service for at least 60 days. It is as simple as contacting a different company that offers it and asking them to transfer your Lifeline benefit. They will require your information, but they might also need to see a card, letter, or any proof of participation in the Lifeline program.
Once you’ve started the process with the new company, they will ask for the information listed below:
- Date of Birth
- Last Four Digits of Social Security Number (SSN)
- Verbal or Written Consent
USAC calls this process a “Service Transfer” and it is within your rights so you don’t have to pay any processing fees. However, there are some rules and requirements, and complying them is the best and fastest way to get your new phone and line.
Here are the rules and steps necessary to successfully get a “Service Transfer”
- You need to be with your service provider for at least two months or 60 days before asking for a service transfer.
- You can ask for a transfer again in the future, but you can only change companies every 3 months or 90 days.
- You must call your current service provider and let them know that you want to apply for a service transfer to another company. They will know what you mean and what needs to be done. They will help you with the next steps listed below:
- You must fill up a form that shows you are still eligible for a free government cell phone and free service. The documents will include a “request for change” form which is essential to the whole process.
- You need to login into the NLAD (National Lifetime Accountability Database) and click on the box labeled “Transfer NLAD Benefit”. Your personal information will be required, and once you’ve filled them up, you can click “Transfer Benefit” and proceed.
- A confirmation question will be shown, and you need to click yes to proceed.
- After you have cleared the requirements from your current provider, your next step is to contact the company you want to switch to. They will ask for the same data as above, so keep them handy to ensure that the process is smooth.
- You might be asked for proof that you are eligible for the Lifeline benefit, so keep the documents you used to apply for your previous provider handy.
- Once you’ve completed the requirements and your service starts with the new provider, they will call your previous company to terminate your service there. Most users do not get service interruption because of this process, so rest assured that you will be able to keep in touch.
- Take note that it is a violation of the Lifeline rules to keep your previous phone and line, or more than one Lifeline service package. Follow the procedure above until your old account gets closed or risk losing your free government cell phone benefit.
If you are unsure about which company to choose, you can consult our guide by clicking this link. We have listed the different Lifeline service companies and their contact numbers inside.
You have to remember that you still need to re-enroll your Lifetime benefit during its annual deadline or risk starting the application again from scratch. Keeping more than Lifeline phone and service active in your household is a serious offense, and it will get you kicked out of the service. The government and the companies it is partnered with are very strict with these rules and guidelines, so be sure to follow them if you want to keep enjoying your free government cell phone and plan.
SALLY SHAMAN FOGEL says
I not only want to change providers, but I also want to KEEP my current cell phone# —
I want to have it ported to the new provider I choose. Please advise how that process
works. Thank you! Sally Shaman Fogel * firstname.lastname@example.org
Paolo Roxas says
Hi, Sally! It is best to get in touch with the company you want to transfer to and see what solution they can provide. Cheers!