Having a cell phone is no longer a luxury — it’s something most people need. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean everyone has the money to pay for one. Basic plans that offer minutes, texting, and data cost an average of $114 per month.¹ And that doesn’t even include the average cost of a smartphone, which is $317.² So, what are the options for low-income individuals? There are government programs that can give you cell phones or plans completely for free. All you have to do is search online to sign up.
Each incentive has its own set of criteria you need in order to qualify. To find out if you’re eligible for a free phone plan, start an online search.
Here are some government programs that could get you a free phone.
TAG Mobile offers free cell phone service to residents living in 19 states across the U.S.³ It’s a Lifeline discount that caters to low income families and individuals.
With the TAG Mobile program, you could get:
1,000 free voice minutes;
Unlimited free text messages;
4.5GB LTE data every month, and;
Free voicemail, caller ID, and call waiting.
TAG Mobile offers another incentive for California residents. In addition to free data, texting, and phone calls, you could also get a free smartphone.
Eligibility for this program differs from state to state, so make sure you search online to find out if you meet the criteria. Most applicants will qualify if they participate in government benefit programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). You could also qualify if your income is at or below 135 percent of the federal poverty level.
Q Link Wireless
More than two million customers have taken advantage of the free wireless service from Q Link Wireless. This government program allows you to bring in your current cell phone and keep your current phone number. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy service on America’s largest 4G LTE/5G network.
Customers can get the following service through the FREE Always On Plan with Q Link Wireless:⁴
- Unlimited data;
- Unlimited talk and text;
- Unlimited picture messages;
- Three-way calling;
- Emergency service calls to 911;
- Access to 10 million free wi-fi locations;
- Free SIM card, and;
- Free activation.
After you qualify, you will get a SIM card kit. You’ll get it shipped to your house and activated for free. Moreover,the phone plan will be automatically refilled every month.
Better yet, Q Link Wireless is also giving customers a new tablet for a limited time.
SafeLink Wireless is another provider that offers free phone service and cellular devices to low income individuals.⁵ There is no contract, so you’re able to cancel any time. It gives you the freedom to enjoy phone service without being tied to contracts and pricey monthly bills. Those who have their own smartphone could receive the following plan:
- 350 minutes of talk;
- Unlimited texts;
- SIM card;
- Caller ID;
- 4.5GB of data, and;
- 411 directory assistance.
Alternatively, customer can get that same plan and keep their existing cell phone. Eligibility is determined based on your household income or whether you participate in the following government assistance programs:
- SSI (Section 8), and;
- Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit.
It’s easy to apply for this service directly on the SafeLink Wireless website. Phone plans may differ depending on where you live, so enter your ZIP code to find out exactly what you can get from SafeLink Wireless.
Get a free smartphone from EnTouch Wireless. Eligible customers can receive a free 5.5 inch Android smartphone, along with an enviable monthly plan.⁶ That plan will include:
- Unlimited minutes;
- Unlimited texts;
- 6GB of data.
The high quality phones If you already own a phone, you could also bring your own device to EnTouch Wireless. They can hook you up with a SIM card and provide unlimited talk and text, along with 6GB of data.
Customers can qualify for an EnTouch Wireless plan either by program or their income. The following programs include:
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefits, and;
- Federal Public Housing Assistance or Section 8.
Learn more about how to qualify for this free phone on the EnTouch Wireless website. Some customers may even qualify for free unlimited data, so make sure to check out this limited time offer.
Search Online to Learn More About These Services
Having excellent phone service does not have to be out of reach anymore. If you’re living along the poverty line or participating in government assistance programs — situations that many seniors and older adults may find themselves in — you could qualify for free phone service for as long as you need it. Your plan will include the essentials like talk, text, and data for as long as you need it.
Depending on where you live, programs may offer extra incentives such as a free phone or tablet. Just search online to find out what’s being offered. You can compare the various programs to see which plans give you the most of what you need.
To get started, find out if you qualify as some providers only operate in certain states. You will need to enter your ZIP code online to see if providers offer service where you live. Then, simply fill out the online application and wait for your approval.