The Proper Ways To Get Lifeline Free Phone And Tablet

Technology access in the 21st century is a crucial innovation that every person should embrace. However, it becomes challenging for low-income families to access telecommunication services like tablets, phones, and the internet due to the high cost of living. For this reason, the Lifeline program was designed to make communication services affordable to low-income families. The program offers discounts on monthly phone service and free phones. If you qualify for this FCC-managed program, you can get Lifeline free phone and tablet through qualifying wireless providers.

 Most importantly,  no Lifeline wireless providers that give free tablets directly via the Lifeline program. In this case, all Lifeline-eligible consumers automatically qualify for the newly launched Affordable Connectivity Program( ACP) that does offer free tablets. ACP is a long-term project by FCC designed to assist low-income consumers in paying for broadband services and getting free connected devices. Thus, if you are Lifeline-eligible, you can directly enroll in an ACP program and get a free tablet and smartphone. 

Not all participating wireless providers offer discounts on free government tablets through the Affordable Connectivity Program. Some providers do offer a smartphone instead. Therefore, you can receive a free phone or tablet discount of up to $100 to buy a tablet or another connected device. According to the FCC rules, the connected device is only partially free of charge. Eligible participants in the Lifeline program must co-pay from $10 and not more than $50 to get the free tablet discount.

Process To Receive A Free Phone From The Government

Lifeline is a program behind the free government phones offered to eligible low-income families in every territory, state, commonwealth, and Tribal land. The Lifeline program is monitored by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC). USAC is the body liable for assisting consumers in enrolling for the program, knowing eligibility requirements, and maintaining their current benefits via an annual recertification process.

Additionally, to receive a free phone in the Lifeline program, you must attain an income of 135% or below the Federal Poverty Level or participate in any of the federal assistance programs below:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Medicaid
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit, or Tribal Programs like Headstart, Tribal TANF, and others.

To enroll for a free phone through  Lifeline, you must generally utilize the National Verifier application system. The National Verifier is a consolidated system launched by the FCC and managed by USAC that proves Lifeline applicants’ eligibility and recertifies consumer eligibility annually. Suppose you would like help from a service provider when applying for a free Lifeline phone from the government. In that case, you can utilize the “Companies Near Me” tool to find a Lifeline program wireless provider in your area.

If you have queries about your free phone application or need an application mailed to you, call Lifeline at (800) 234-9473 or  LifelineSupport@usac.org.

Qualification For Lifeline Program

 To qualify for a free cell phone and tablet through Lifeline,  a household  member must attain at least one of the below eligibility criteria:

1. Income-Based Lifeline Eligibility

A person is Lifeline-eligible by having an annual household income of 135% or less following the Federal Poverty Guidelines. However, the guideline is based on the state of residence and the household size.

2. Program-Based Lifeline Eligibility

A  Lifeline-eligible customer can apply for a free tablet and phone  if  one of the household members participates in any of the qualifying government-aided programs below :

  • Medicaid
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/Food Stamps
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Again, you are Lifeline-eligible if any of the household members is a participant in one of the following Tribal administered programs:

  • Tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
  • Head Start (only households having the income qualifying standard)
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations

Get A Free Government Tablet – The Procedure

 Most Lifeline free tablet and phone providers participating in the Affordable Connectivity Program provide a simple online application process. Applying for a Lifeline free tablet and smartphone through an ACP program is simple by observing below easy steps:

1st Step: Ensure you are Lifeline-eligible, offering immediate eligibility for ACP; therefore, you can enroll for a free tablet.

2nd Step: Identify an ACP provider that provides a free tablet from the government for Lifeline customers in your state of residence. You can get the complete list of all ACP participating wireless providers by the state at fcc.gov/affordable-connectivity-program-providers. Search for the ones with a tick under ‘Offering free devices.’

3rd Step: Gather the documents that confirm your eligibility and verify your identity, income, and program participation. You may need to submit them at some point during the application process.

4th Step: Proceed to the selected wireless provider’s official website and look for their online application form. Complete by giving all the needed personal information and documentation. Send the application.

5th Step : If approved, you will get a confirmation email within a few days. You can expect to get your Lifelinephone/ACP free tablet or another connected device within 7 to 10 days, based on your location and availability.

Documents You Need To Prove ACP and Lifeline Eligibility

When applying for the Lifeline free tablet and phone program, you may require additional information or documentation to confirm your identity,  eligibility, or address.

1. Identity Verification Documentation

Documentation must feature your full name and date of birth(DOB) when confirming your identity.

Documents Examples:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Certificate of US Citizenship or Naturalization
  • Valid  military, government, state, or Tribal ID
  • US Driver’s license
  • Passport
  • Government assistance program document
  • ITIN document 
  • Permanent Resident Card or Green Card

2. Program Participation Documentation

If you qualify for Lifeline or ACP based on a government-sponsored program, you must submit a letter or official document as verification proof.

Documents Examples:

  • School documentation
  • Approval letter
  • Benefit verification letter
  • Benefit award letter
  • Statement of benefits

3. Household Income Documentation

If you qualify for a Lifeline free tablet and phone based on your income, you must give a document that proves your annual income lies at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

Documents Examples:

  • A Social Security statement of benefits
  • Last year’s  federal, state, or Tribal tax return
  • Recent income statement from your employer or a paycheck stub
  • Veterans Administration statement of benefits
  • A retirement/pension statement of benefits
  • Unemployment or Worker’s Compensation statement of benefits
  • Child support award, Divorce decree, or a similar official document with your income

Bottom Line

Lifeline is an FCC-managed program making communications services more affordable for low-income consumers. Besides, the program offers eligible customers a discount on qualifying monthly cellular service, plus a free phone. You must meet the FCC eligibility requirements to receive a free phone or tablet through Lifeline. Generally, the eligibility requirements include participation in a government-aided program or having an income level set by the Federal Poverty Guidelines.