Can Low Income Seniors Get A Free Phone?

David Bolton

/

April 30, 2021

Retirement Wealth
Can Low Income Seniors Get A Free Phone? | Retire Fearless

Cell-phones are important for many reasons, but they are not cheap. There are some options for low income seniors to get a free phone and discounted service.

It is important to know the options from the federal government and private companies. It is good to know where these programs are available and how to qualify.

The Lifeline program is managed by the federal government that offers discounted service to eligible seniors. There are providers that work with the government to offer free phones or service including Safelink, SafetyNet, Budget Mobile, enTouch, Assurance, and Access Wireless. Private companies also have discounts for seniors.

This article covers all the free phone opportunities as well as service and phone discounts that you can take advantage of. In addition, here is an easy-to-read spreadsheet covering the various Lifeline providers.

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Table of contents

Lifeline Program

Lifeline is the program managed by the Federal Communications Commission and strives to make service more affordable to low-income households. Lifeline provides a discount to qualifying seniors that can be used toward phone service, broadband internet, or voice-broadband packages that are purchased from phone providers.

Lifeline gives up to $9.25 off of monthly bills (or $34.25 for people who reside on Tribal land). This program is available to people in every state across the country. To qualify for the Lifeline program, your income has to be below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or be a participant in federal assistance programs. This means that if you receive SNAP,. Medicaid, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Supplemental Security Income, or other assistance, then you may be eligible.

To apply for Lifeline, you will have to use the National Verifier application system. This system was established by the FCC in order to verify the eligibility of those who wish to apply. In addition, it will check if you remain eligible once every year.

Safelink Wireless

Safelink Wireless is a large company that helps low-income seniors and other individuals by providing free cell phones and phone service. This is the most popular choice for free phones and free service.

Safelink Wireless serves the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • West Virginia

Safelink offers different services in different states so you will have to check for your region. However, they will typically offer 350 minutes and unlimited texts in addition to the free phone. They also offer 3 GB of data monthly with nationwide 4G coverage. Finally, they offer the ability to use your own device instead of the free phone that they provide so that you can have free service.

Assurance Wireless

Assurance Wireless is another Lifeline provider for cell phone service that gives free cell phones to qualifying, low-income seniors. Assurance Wireless is a subsidiary of Virgin Mobile and uses the Sprint Network to provide quality service nationwide. 

Assurance is available in the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • West Virginia

Assurance Wireless offers different services depending on the state. The lowest amount of voice minutes available is 350 per month. However, they do offer unlimited talk and text in many states. Typically, their plans will also include 2 GB of Data.

Q Link

Q Link Wireless offers free mobile phone service for any seniors that already qualify for the Lifeline program. To apply, you will have to use their Q Link online application. Then, you will sign up and receive free service.

Q Link is available in:

  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • West Virginia

Q Link Wireless has free unlimited talk and unlimited text with 3 GB of monthly data. They also offer the ability to bring your own device and do not require a credit check.

Life Wireless

Life Wireless has free service to qualifying low-income seniors and families. They also offer a free phone to some individuals. They service the following states:

  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin
  • West virginia

Life Wireless has free service that provides unlimited texts and 1000 voice minutes. In addition, they also give 3 GB of data free.

TruConnect

TruConnect has free phone service in several states including:

  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin
  • West Virginia

TruConnect is not available in as many states as some of the other providers, but they do offer unlimited text and free voice up to 1000 minutes a month in addition to 3 GB of data.

SafetyNet Wireless

SafetyNet Wireless is a subsidized service by the Lifeline program. They offer free phones and free talk, text, and data plans. SafetyNet Wireless is available in the following states, but they also plan on expanding service:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Wisconsin

SafetyNet has different plans available depending on the state. They also offer affordable upgrades to data for as little as $1 per month.

enTouch Wireless

enTouch Wireless is also called Boomerang. They provide free phones to seniors and provide services in the following states, but also plans to expand soon:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

enTouch offers 500 voice minutes per month free as well as 100 text messages. They only offer 10 MB of data, but you can upgrade for an affordable 500 MB of data plan. In California, they offer unlimited calls and texts with 500 MB of data.

Blue Jay Wireless

Blue Jay Wireless offers a free cell phone in addition to service. They have service in the following states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin

Blue Jay Wireless offers between 250 and 500 minutes of voice and unlimited texts in addition to the free cell phone. They also have affordable data and 500 MB costs only $3.60. California residents receive unlimited talk and text, but have to pay $26 for 5 GB of data a month.

Access Wireless

Access Wireless gives free phones that come with service. They provide up to 750 minutes of voice service and unlimited text along with 200 MB of data per month. In California, residents can package 1000 minutes of voice service with 200 MB of data and unlimited texts.

Access Wireless is available in:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • Nevada
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

Other Discounts for Seniors

In addition to the free phones and plans above, there are also discounts available for seniors and those who are members of AARP. One of those options is called GreatCall or the Jitterbug company. This company specializes in phone service for senior citizens and their plans are designed with seniors in mind. Jitterbug also has applications that work on their phones that are designed for the health and safety of seniors.

Sprint also offers discounts to AARP members through their discount program. In order to apply, go to the Sprint website and fill out the forms that are available for their discount program. Then, if you are eligible you will receive a discount on your monthly bill.

Cricket mobile often has deals for seniors who are members of AARP. They commonly give $20 Visa cards to those seniors who qualify. Also, companies like Verizon and T-Mobile offer discounted plans for seniors who are over the age of 55.

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