The Lifeline program proves provides free cell phones and phone service to applicants who qualify under established income guidelines or participate in certain federal assistance programs. The application process varies by state, with specific state information available on the Universal Service Administration Company's website.
Applications are automatically accepted, and Lifeline equipment and services granted, if the applicant participates in Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance or the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Additionally, participants in Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and the National School Lunch Program are also qualified. Native Americans can be automatically accepted if they participate in the Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance, Tribally-Administered Temporary Assistance to Needy Families or the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations.
Federal guidelines require an applicants income to be below 135 percent of the established federal government poverty level; however, some states allow higher income levels.