Cell phones are essential parts of our daily living, so it’s even more important to find out who has the best free government phones. You can get one via the Lifeline Program which helps low-income families and individuals get connected. It’s one gateway to getting in touch with loved ones or opportunities to make their lives better, so it is just as important as the food on the table.
What is the Lifeline Program?
The Lifeline Program is a federally-funded initiative that provides free phones and communication for those who cannot afford them. Those who have the best free government phones fall under this umbrella, so the services and minimal costs they provide are mostly the same. The terms and qualifications you need to go through are all the same so you can get the same benefits between each company.
Lifeline has existed since the Reagan administration, but it has continually grown and improved over the years. You could only get landlines before, but it’s now possible to get a mobile phone with calls, text, and data. Check out our other guides if you want to know more about Lifeline and how it works.
How to Qualify?
The FCC has strict guidelines when it comes to eligibility, like if your household income falls under a certain percentage of your state’s poverty line. There’s also a big chance that you will qualify for the Lifeline Program if you already have any of the following services:
- Federal Public Housing Assistance
- Tribal-Specific Programs Such as TTANF
You need to be ready with your credentials from these programs since the provided who has the best government phones for you will ask for them.
Who Has the Best Free Government Phones?
The quickest answer is that there is no single Lifeline Program provider who has the best free government phones unless you consider paying extra. These brands offer random devices at any given time, and most of them do not advertise what you will get if you the free route. However, some options provide discounts on premium devices, so you can still get a nice mobile phone if you are willing to spend some cash.
Of course, paying the cash-out fees for these devices doesn’t mean that you will not get the free service advertised by the Lifeline Program. We also recommend going this route if you can so you don’t have to deal with the free budget-level phones with limited features or annoying advertisements built-in. It’s also worth mentioning that the big telecom names like AT&T or Verizon only offer discounted service plans, so you have to go with the smaller companies if you don’t want to pay anything.
Here are our favorite companies who has the best free government phones and deals in 2022
Access Wireless provides unlimited texting and up to 750 minutes of calls, plus at least 200MB of mobile data each month. California residents get more, with up to 1000 minutes and the same unlimited texting and 200MB of data. They offer free phones, but you can also bring your own device and just get a sim card with no monthly fees.
States: 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 provides both broadband and telecommunications for low-income households. They offer 500 minutes of calls and texts plus 1GB of data per month. Their basic plan is absolutely free, but you can also opt to add a device or other services like more data allowance at affordable rates.
States: Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Safeline Wireless is the largest and longest-standing Lifeline Program provider in the USA. They currently have millions of subscribers with their very efficient platforms, and they offer completely free phones and sim cards if you qualify. You can get a device, unlimited calls, and text, plus 2GB of data in California, while other states get 1000 minutes, unlimited text, and 1.5GB.
States: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico
Assurance Wireless is backed by Sprint and Nextel, so it is one of the most reliable brands in the lineup. They are available in almost every state and are continuously improving to be on par or better than competitors. Their standard plans offer 350 minutes of calls, unlimited texts, and monthly data.
States: 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. They are working to make it available soon in other states as well.
Q Link Wireless is probably the most accessible company that offers the best free government phones. They offer great packages, to begin with, but you can also top up or add more calls or data allowance. You primarily get 500 minutes and unlimited texts with a free phone, but the unused allotment gets carried over to the next monthly cycle.
States: 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.
Final Note: Again, we can’t guarantee that you will get a sought-after phone from these companies if you choose the completely free route. All of them offer BYOD or bring your own device options as an alternative, so you can purchase the device you want before applying. Some companies offer discounted devices like certified iPhones, so it is always best to ask first before applying.