Homeless people are those without permanent shelter or residence. These people and low-income families can obtain free cell phones thanks to the ACP program that started during the Covid Pandemic and through the federally-funded Lifeline program. With the help of free cell phones for the homeless, eligible families can stay in touch with friends and their relatives and connect to the world of digital technology. Apart from offering free cell phones to eligible homeless individuals, these programs provide free or low-cost internet.
Generally, most people staying at a homeless shelter cannot afford a smartphone. Thus, they require a phone to get vital information, access online education, and report any emergency, such as insecurity or sickness. Courtesy of the American Federal Government, homeless people can have smartphones to enjoy a cell phone’s security. Many homeless and low-income people can qualify for free smartphones packed with free internet service plans featuring unlimited text, talk, and free data. However, there are eligibility requirements that you must meet to be eligible.
To qualify for free cell phones for people without homes, a person must attain the Lifeline or ACP income limits per the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Alternatively, you must enroll in a qualifying government benefit program such as Public Housing. Homeless applicants must ensure they meet the eligibility requirements for a free phone. Then, contact a phone company offering ACP or Lifeline services within their area. And submit documentation to prove income or program-based eligibility with their application.
How To Get Free Cell Phone For Homeless
Step1: Confirm Your Eligibility
Before starting any application for free cellphones for the homeless through the Lifeline or the Affordable Connectivity Program, ensure to check your eligibility. In this case, you must attain specific income requirements per Federal Poverty Guidelines to qualify for a free phone. Besides, as categorically highlighted shortly, you must participate in qualifying government subsidy programs, including SNAP, Medicaid, and others. You can confirm your eligibility through the FCC’s National Verifier website.
Step2: Select a Participating Wireless Provider
After eligibility confirmation, the next step is to choose a participating wireless provider. The FCC partners with several internet service providers (ISPs) in all states to give free cell phones to eligible homeless. These providers include Easy Wireless, TruConnect, Assurance Wireless, Cintex Wireless, Q Link Wireless, and more. You can check the complete list of participating providers on the USAC website.
Step3:Enroll for the Free Cell Phone For Homeless Program
After identifying your preferred participating provider, the next step is to apply for a free phone through Lifeline or the Affordable Connectivity Program. The application process is different based on the provider you choose. However, most providers will require applicants to fill out an enrollment form online or contact a customer care representative to apply.
Step4: Obtain Your Free Cellphone
If your application for a homeless-free cell phone through the Affordable Connectivity Program or Lifeline is successful, you will get your free cell phone. This program typically offers a feature phone or a basic smartphone depending on the stock availability. In some cases, the program may also cater to the cost of a high-quality smartphone from brands such as Apple or Samsung.
Qualify To Get a Free Government Phone For Homeless
i. Qualify Through Federal Poverty Income Guidelines
Homeless qualify for a free government phone through the Lifeline or the ACP. These programs require an applicant to have a yearly gross income of 135% or under the Federal Poverty Guidelines for Lifeline. ACP requires an income of 200% or less of the Federal Poverty Policy. This guideline follows your household size and state.
Most importantly, you may have to produce proof of income, including a tax return or three consecutive pay stubs, when applying for a free phone for people experiencing homelessness based on income criteria.
ii. Qualify-Based Federal Assistance Programs
You can get a free phone through ACP or Lifeline if you (or someone in your homeless shelter) participate in any of these programs:
- SNAP, aka Food Stamps
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
- Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit
- National School Lunch Program
- Federal Pell Grant
- Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC)
- Tribal Assistance Programs include:
Head Start (only for income qualifying standard)
Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
When applying through program-based criteria, you may have to show proof of participation by providing a benefits letter or official document, when you apply for these programs.
Applications Process For Homeless Get Free Cell Phones
You can apply online, through mail, or seek the assistance of your phone or internet company. When applying online, proceed to acpbenefit.org and complete the Lifeline or Affordable Connectivity Program(ACP) application form.
To apply through mail, you can print out an application form in English or Spanish from the ACP’s Official website and fill it in with the required information. Then, print out the household worksheet and fill it out and mail it to the following:
ACP Support Center
P.O. Box 9100
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18773
Lifeline Support Center
P.O. Box 9100
Wilkes-Barre, PA 1877
Another method is to complete an application form from your phone company’s website for ACP and Lifeline services. If eligible, you will receive a free cell phone by mail within a few business days after application.
Best Homeless Cell Phone Program
Free cell phone program falls into two categories: Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program.
The Lifeline government assistance program subsidizes phone service for eligible customers. The program provides qualifying homeless people with a free phone or SIM card and a monthly allotment of free talk, texts, and data. Under this program, the federal government discounts the cost of free cellular service for homeless individuals and low-income families. The federal government recognized that lack of phone access might expose homeless families to increased danger to personal safety.
On the other hand, the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a newly started federal free government phone program that brings connectivity to low-income Americans, including people experiencing homelessness. Qualifying households can receive a free smartphone and monthly phone service upon meeting the income-based or program-based eligibility requirements. However, only one free cell phone for the homeless and monthly service is allowed in every eligible household.
The inability to access modern technology trends can make people enduring homelessness stay in the dark. Homeless people require a cell phone for personal safety, to learn, to search for employment opportunities, to stay in touch with family and friends, and get emerging news and information. Interestingly, people without housing can apply for a free phone program should they meet the above eligibility provision in their state for Lifeline or ACP. The federal government commits to offer all Americans free phone and service. If you’re eligible based on income or program participation, your household will get one free cell phone for the homeless and monthly service.