Free phone service is available to eligible low-income families through several different programs. Each program is funded by telecommunications companies to ensure that low-income families have access to affordable phone service.
In general, families who already receive government assistance, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), are eligible. In addition, you may qualify if you earn less than 135% of the federal poverty guidelines for your state.
The following programs can help you get a free cell phone, accrue free monthly minutes, and/or establish a land-line at a reduced rate.
Safelink participants receive a free cell phone and 68 minutes of free airtime each month. Safelink is currently available in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The service will eventually include additional states throughout the U.S. To find out whether you qualify, visit www.safelinkwireless.com.
Assurance Wireless provides participants with a free wireless phone and 200 monthly minutes. The service is currently available in Michigan, North Carolina, New York, Tennessee, and Virginia. To find out whether you qualify, visit www.assurancewireless.
Lifeline, along with Link Up and Toll Limitation Service (TLS), also provide discounts to low-income families in need of a land-line (or non-cellular) phone. Lifeline saves participants at least $10 per month, and Link Up will pay up to $30 of your home phone start-up fees and/or allow you to borrow up to $200 toward set-up fees, interest-free, for one year. To find out whether you are eligible, visit www.lifesupport.org.