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Where to Find Free Government Phones in 2023

Connecting to critical phone and internet service is a challenge for many low-income families. Thankfully, the US government provides programs to help qualified households gain access to mobile devices and wireless plans. This guide explains how to locate free government phones in your area.

Overview of Government Phone Assistance Programs

The Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) are two main initiatives assisting consumers with phone and internet costs.

Lifeline offers discounted home phone or mobile service to low-income households. Those who qualify pay very little out of pocket, often $0 per month. Lifeline also provides free cell phones with service in many states.

ACP helps households afford internet access and devices. It provides up to $30/month off internet bills and up to $100 toward a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet purchase. ACP participants can also get hotspot devices at a major discount.

People can apply for both Lifeline and ACP to maximize savings on connectivity. Certain providers even offer combination plans bundling free devices with subsidized service.

Am I Eligible for Free Government Phones?

You may qualify for Lifeline and ACP benefits if you:

  • Receive SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Veterans Pension or Survivor Benefits, or certain tribal assistance
  • Meet low-income criteria based on household size (at or below 200% of Federal Poverty Guidelines for Lifeline, at or below 200% for ACP)
  • Were recently approved for free/reduced price school lunch program
  • Experienced substantial loss of income since 2019

Check specific requirements through the Lifeline and ACP program websites, as qualifying factors can vary by state. Households on tribal lands may also have expanded criteria.

How to Apply for Free Phone Service

Applying for Lifeline and ACP discounts is straightforward. Here are quick overviews of each process:

To Apply for Lifeline:

  • Visit Lifeline Support and click "Apply Now"
  • Choose whether to apply online or by mail
  • Provide details on eligibility and identity
  • Select mobile or home service and choose from available Lifeline providers
  • Submit application for review

To Apply for ACP:

  • Go to
  • Click "Apply Now" and fill out the online application form
  • Provide name, contact, eligibility, and identity details
  • Get application ID number to use when enrolling with mobile/internet companies

Double check for accuracy, as incorrectly submitted applications can cause delays. Approval for both programs often happens within 5-10 business days.

Finding Lifeline Service Providers

Lifeline wireless plans and free government phones availability varies by location. Your state likely has multiple Lifeline mobile operators to pick from.

Visit the Lifeline Providers Search Tool and enter your zip code to generate a list of local Lifeline companies.

National prepaid carriers like Assurance Wireless, Q Link Wireless, SafeLink Wireless, and Tag Mobile are go-to options seen across most states. Compare which gives you the best free phone and service plan combination in your area.

Be sure to also ask if they offer bundled Lifeline + ACP packages with boosted data amounts.

Getting Free & Discounted Smartphones with ACP

While Lifeline focuses on basic phones, ACP delivers opportunities to get advanced devices for free or at major markdown.

The ACP benefit applies to any mobile data plan from participating carriers, potentially making upgrade phones affordable.

Providers like TruConnect and Metro by T-Mobile also give free smartphones to ACP subscribers, permitting $0 plans after discount.

Visit and click "Companies Near Me" to find contact info for local participating providers. Reach out to companies directly to ask about promotional offers pairing free phones with ACP rate plans.

Maximize Assistance with Lifeline & ACP

Making use of both Lifeline and ACP earns you the most robust government connectivity benefits.

With this combination, you can snag a free smartphone from an ACP carrier plus receive extra subsidies and data through Lifeline mobile service. Certain providers also offer "ACP plus Lifeline" plans with boosted talk, text, and web access.

On top of this, securing ACP for home internet delives additional $30 monthly savings.

Managing two different claims processes feels complicated. However, taking this small extra effort pays major dividends improving household affordability.

Locate Free Government Phones to Connect

Gaining phone and internet access promotes life opportunities through communication, education, work, healthcare, and more. Federal Lifeline and ACP programs make connectivity attainable regardless of financial hardship.

Use this guide‘s tips to pinpoint local participating mobile carriers and explore deals providing free device and monthly discounts. An approved application gets you started with vital phone service at no or minimal out-of-pocket expense.

Stay connected and elevate your prospects by securing much-needed assistance. Use Lifeline and ACP to remove cost concerns enabling you to phone, text, browse the web, apply for jobs, attend digital classrooms, and manage healthcare needs.