Q:

How do you apply for a free cellphone?

A:

Quick Answer

Administration of the federally funded Lifeline free cellphone plan varies by state, but typically applications can be completed by phone or in-person with the approved service provider for your state. Contact your state's Department of Human Services to find out who the provider is.

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How do you apply for a free cellphone?
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Full Answer

Many Lifeline service providers also assist users in completing applications at the retail point-of-sale for their cellphones. In some cases, this may be the provider's office but in many cases it can be grocery or electronics stores that sell the provider's services and that may be more convenient to your location.

Criteria for applicant eligibility may vary slightly by state but usually follow similar federal income guidelines. If you are already enrolled in any low-income assistance benefits programs, you are probably already qualified and an application is a formality for opening your account.

Examples of assistance programs that have automatic eligibility include participation in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Many other programs are included as well as those for Native Americans and Tribal Lands residents. A full listing can be found in the Lifeline section of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission website.

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