You can own a go-to smartphone or iPhone for free in California. The federal government has made it very easy for eligible Californians to get free government phones.
The procedure of allocating free government phones in California is carried out by the California Lifeline Program. California Lifeline Program is specially designed to cater to the needs of low-income Americans and other disadvantaged people like disabled, veterans, single moms, senior citizens, homeless, etc.
You can also be a part of this program and get your go-to smart device for free. We’ll help you with this with the help of this article.
This article offers you a comprehensive overview of the Californian Lifeline Program, its eligibility criteria, and how to apply for your go-to phone through participating carriers.
So, continue reading the article to know how you can own a nice-to-have smartphone for free.
What is the Californian Lifeline Program?
Californian Lifeline Program is an initiative of the federal government for the welfare of disadvantaged groups in California. It aims to eliminate the digital gap and digital literacy.
Therefore, the smartphones or iPhones are distributed to applicants based on their eligibility criteria without any discrimination based on their color, race, language, status, class, occupation, etc.
The Federal Communications Commission imparts the benefits of this program through participating carriers, not directly to customers. Hence, if you are eligible for it, you can apply for your free smartphone with the trust that you will get it.
What are the eligibility criteria for the Californian Lifeline Program?
Check out the following pointers to know the eligibility criteria for the Californian Lifeline Program:
- CalFresh, Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance or Section 8
- National School Lunch Program (NSL)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs)
- Stanislaus County Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (StanWORKs)
- Welfare-to-Work (WTW)
- Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN)
- Tribal TANF
- Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
- Federal Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit Program
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Head Start Income Eligible (Tribal Only)
How can you be eligible for the California Lifeline Program based on income?
Go through the following table to check the eligibility criteria based on income:
|Annual Income Limits
|Each Additional Member
|Effective June 1, 2023 to May 31, 2024
Which participating carriers are offering free government phones in California?
Participating carriers (California’s leading telecom companies) have been offering nice-to-have phones to eligible applicants for free. You don’t need to even pay a delivery fee for the delivery time. Go over the following paragraphs to know which participating carriers can offer you phones for free:
1. Safelink Wireless
Safelink Wireless is a leading US telecom company that provides customers with a high-speed internet connection. Luckily, this company is a participating provider of the Californian Lifeline Program.
So many eligible applicants have availed of the benefits of the Californian Lifeline Program via Safelink Wireless. You can also be one of them and enjoy your go-to smartphone for free.
To apply for the free government phone through TracFone Wireless powered Safelink Wireless, you should make sure that you are eligible for the Californian Lifeline Program. Only one member of your family can avail of its benefits.
If somebody in your family has already availed of the benefits of the free phones, you will not be able to apply for it.
2. EnTouch Wireless
EnTouch Wireless has been working to alleviate the financial stress of low-income eligible households. Now, you don’t need to bother about the prices of high-end phones.
The network coverage of EnTouch Wireless is available in 34 US states including California. You only need to qualify for the California Lifeline Program to get a premium-quality cell phone of your favorite brand.
Besides this, you don’t need to pay for the monthly broadband services and calling minutes. Since EnTouch Wireless is a participating carrier of the Californian Lifeline Program, you are eligible for free phone calling and texting minutes plus free data connection minutes.
3. TAG Mobile
TAG Mobile carrier is an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier (ETC). You can apply for a free smartphone or iPhone under the California Lifeline Program via this telecom company.
On applying, you will not only get a free smartphone but also get some additional benefits. You will get unlimited international calling minutes, unlimited international messaging minutes, and 1000 Free voice minutes.
In addition, you will also get 500 MB LTE Data for the first 3 months and 4 months onwards 1 GBB data. After the first three months, you will be able to get the speed of an internet connection at 2G/3G network LTE. Alternatively, you can choose a paid plan to get the best coverage and fastest 3G/4G network LTE.
4. Access Wireless
Access Wireless has also collaborated with the Federal Communications Commission. It is activated in all the US States. You can apply for your free phone under the California Lifeline Program.
The Affordable Connectivity Program is not for Californians. It is very easy to apply for the free phone. You will get the delivery of the phone within 7-10 business days.
You will get free data minutes, free calling minutes, and free messaging minutes along with your free cell phone. This benefit is available for only one member per household. If you want another line service, you should check the plans at Kroger Wireless. All available plans are in your budget.
5. SafetyNet Wireless
SafetyNet Wireless gets funds from the Federal Communication Commission. The carrier uses the fund to provide eligible Californians with government smartphones for free.
SafetyNet Wireless free smartphone is highly preferred by senior citizens. It is a MediCaid-approved device. If you are over 60 or your parents are over 60, you should apply for it. It is efficient to monitor your health.
On qualifying for a free phone, you will get free minutes, free texting, and free data every month. In this way, you don’t need to worry about the monthly bills.
If you are an Amazon Prime lover, you should choose the company TruConnect. TruConnect has been offering 2 months of free Amazon Prime subscription along with a free smartphone under the Californian Lifeline Program.
After 2 months of free subscription, you can upgrade to TruConnect + Plan at only one dollar to continue Amazon Prime. Additionally, you will get a free 5.5’’ smartphone that is compatible with the 4G LTE network.
TruConnect as the name suggests is known for the best network coverage and uninterrupted internet connectivity nationwide.
7. Assurance Wireless
Assurance Wireless is a leading telecom carrier in the US. Its parent organization is the popular T-Mobile company. You can apply for its free phone under the California Lifeline Program.
The best thing is that you will get several options of flagship smartphones to opt for. Along with a smartphone, you will get 25 free voice minutes and 250 free messages each month.
Residents with temporary addresses are not eligible to apply for it. Moreover, separate households that live at the same address are eligible to apply for the free smartphone via Assurance Wireless. For instance, residents of nursing homes and homeless shelters in California.
8. AirTalk Wireless
AirTalk Wireless is a top-ranked telecom company that offers unbeatable service plus premium quality cell phones for free. You can also be eligible for its free cell phone plan by qualifying for the Californian Lifeline Program.
The best thing is that you will get unlimited international calling to 80+ countries along with a free smartphone. No matter whether your relative or friend is in Eastern Asia or London, you can connect to him/her without any international calling charges.
Moreover, the crystal-clear display screen and high-quality camera of your smartphone will give you an amazing experience of video calling.
How can you apply for the Californian Lifeline Program?
Check out the following paragraphs to apply for the Californian Lifeline Program:
- First of all, you should contact the participating carrier of California.
- Then, your participating carrier will review your eligibility criteria to avail the benefits of the Californian Lifeline Program..
- On qualifying, you will receive a mail within 3 weeks.
- You will be given an application form with a PIN number (Permanent Identification Number) in a PINK envelope.
- To apply online for it, you should visit californialifeline.com. Input the PIN number provided by the company.
- Alternatively, you can fill out the application form provided in your mail with the PIN number.
- Send the filled application number to the same mail address.
- Upload the documents to prove your eligibility for the California Lifeline Program.
- Within 2-3 business days, your request for the free phone will be sanctioned.
Does the US government give out free phones?
Yes, the US government gives out free phones to eligible beneficiaries of the Lifeline Program and Affordable Connectivity Program. However, the state eligibility criteria can vary.
Do homeless people get free phones in California?
Yes, homeless people can get free phones in California if they have qualified for any one of the government-funded programs.
Which company gives the best free government phone?
The following companies give the best free government phones:
- Access Wireless
- TAG Mobile
- True Wireless
- Assurance Wireless
- EnTouch Wireless
- SafetyNet Wireless
Does Apple give phones for free?
No, Apple does not give phones for free. You can get it at discounted rates by participating in a trade-in.
Finally, this article has revealed how you can apply for a free government phone in California. This will be the best bang for your buck in the year 2024. You will be able to connect with your friends and family, shop online, stream videos, and pay utility and gas bills.
One thing that you should remember for easy approval is that fill out your application form carefully Any missing detail or wrong detail can be the cause of rejection of your application form.