To qualify for a free government cell phone, also known as LifeLine, you simply need to meet the income requirements. Income requirements vary by state, but in general, you must make no more than 135 percent of federal poverty guidelines.
Some states also allow you to qualify for a free cell phone automatically if you are using another assistance program. These include Medicaid or Medicare, food stamps, energy assistance or Supplemental Security Insurance. Some states also include additional programs such as free school lunches as qualifying factors.
If you do not use any of these programs, you generally have to show that your income is within the guidelines. The entire household income is considered, along with any dependents and fixed expenses. Generally only one free phone is allowed per household. You also must have a valid United States address to apply, and P.O. boxes do not qualify.
To apply for LifeLine, find the regional provider for your area. The most common ones are Assurance Wireless, Reachout Wireless and Safelink Wireless. Fill out an application online or by phone, although online applications are recommended so you can easily upload documentation. The company then processes your application and mails your new phone to you.