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Lifeline Phone Service

Lifeline Phone Service is a government sponsored program that provides discounted and often times free telephone service to qualifying low-income households.  Lifeline is supported by the federal Universal Service Fund (USD).  When this program was initially introduced, it was strictly limited to land line service.  However, with the introduction economic cell phone service (often times as cheap or cheaper than land line service), the government has expanded this program to include cell phones in addition to land lines.

The Lifeline program subsidizes the free government cell phone programs provided by Assurance Wireless, Reachout Wireless, and Safelink Wireless.

The Lifeline program provides up to a $10 USD per month discount on phone service.  Some state governments increase this discount by $5-10.  To learn if your state offers additional discounts on land line service, please check with your local telephone service provider.  If you are interested in free cell phone service, please see the services provided in your state of residence.

A note about Safelink Wireless and Reachout Wireless: the amount of the state subsidy determines the number of free minutes provided in your state.

The Lifeline Land Line program is available to all eligible applicants in every state, territory, and commonwealth of the United States.  The Lifeline program for cell phones is only available in specific states.  Please visit our State Availability page for more information.

For states that solely use the federal program guidelines for Lifeline eligibility criteria, applicants must either have an income that is at or below 135%.

Size of Family

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Applicants may also qualify for Lifeline service is they participate in one of the following government programs:

  • Medicaid
  • Food Stamps
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Famalies (TANF)
  • The National School Lunch Program’s Free Lunch Program

If you need more information on the Lifeline program, including eligibility requirements, visit the USAC website or call 1-888-641-8722.


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