The first option for obtaining free phones is through programs for qualifying low-income households.
The Lifeline Program began in 1985, and its purpose is to ensure that all Americans have access to phone service. With the near eradication of landlines, Lifeline services now focus primarily on cell phones and internet services.
A consumer can qualify for Lifeline Program benefits if their income is 135% or less than the federal poverty guidelines or participate in SNAP, Medicaid, or certain other federal programs.
Assurance Wireless is a service provider subsidized by the Lifeline Program and provides services to those who qualify for Lifeline.