Cellphone Lifeline Program
Lifeline Free Cell Phone Programs
Lifeline is a government benefit program that provides discounts on monthly telephone service for eligible consumers living on low incomes to help ensure they have the opportunities and security that telephone service affords, including being able to connect to jobs, housing, family and 911. Lifeline is supported by the Universal Service Fund.
About the Program:
Assurance Wireless (from Virgin Mobile), Budget Mobile, SafeLink Wireless (from Tracfone) and YourTel Wireless all offer a free, basic cell phone and 250 free minutes every month, plus free voice mail, caller ID and call waiting. Low-cost additional minute packs can be purchased online, by phone and at stores. The phones come with one year of service, one month’s free minutes, and new free minutes are added each month.
You may qualify if you meet either of the criteria below.
1. You participate in any of these programs:
Aged, Blind & Disabled (ABD)
Community Options Program Entry System (COPES)
DSHS Chore Services
Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
Food Stamps (SNAP)
Housing & Essential Needs (HEN)
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
Medical Assistance (including Medicare cost-sharing programs)
National School Lunch Program (free lunch)
State Family Assistance (SFA)
Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
2. Your household income is at or below 135% of Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG).
2013 Guidelines are as follows:
# of Household Members / Gross Monthly Income
1 = $1,293 5 = $3,102
2 = $1,745 6 = $3,555
3 = $2,198 7 = $4,007
4 = $2,650 (Add $452 for each additional person.)
One Lifeline Phone Per Household Rule To List
Only one Lifeline phone is available per household. A household is defined as any individual or group of individuals who live together at the same address and share income and expenses. If you are homeless, you may provide a temporary home address, and the home address cannot be a PO box (although you may provide a separate mailing address).
The phone company will attempt to verify every 90 days that you continue to live at the temporary address, and you must notify them within 30 days of any change of address. If you do not respond to the company’s attempts to verify your address within 30 days, your Lifeline service may be cancelled.
If your household already receives Lifeline assistance for another phone, such as a home phone through Washington Telephone Assistance Program (WTAP), you can’t receive a Lifeline cell phone without cancelling the other phone. A household is not permitted to receive Lifeline benefits from multiple companies. Violation of the “One Lifeline Phone Per Household Rule” may result in your Lifeline service being terminated, and you could be prosecuted.
You will be required to recertify every year that you are still qualified to continue to participate in the Lifeline program. Lifeline is a nontransferable benefit – you may not give your Lifeline phone away to any other person.
Complaints regarding Lifeline service may be directed to the Washington State Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 1.800.551.4636, or you can file a complaint online.
Click here to view a comparison chart
Apply for Free Cell Phones
Access Wireless: Call 1.800.464.6010 or print an application from their website. Mail application with proof of DSHS benefits or income to Access Wireless, One Levee Way, Suite 3106, Newport, KY 41071 (or fax to 1.888.594.4473).
Assurance Wireless (from Virgin Mobile): Call 1.888.898.4888 or print an application from their website. Mail application with proof of DSHS benefits or income to Assurance Wireless, PO Box 7600, Mattoon, IL 61938-9953 (or fax to 1.877.732.3018).
Budget Mobile: Apply online or visit the Budget Mobile store at 7101 Martin Luther King Jr Way S, #113, Seattle, 98118, to apply and get a phone same day. Bring proof of DSHS benefits or income and photo ID. For questions, call the Budget Mobile store at 206.659.0146.
SafeLink Wireless (from Tracfone): Apply online, fax application to 1.866.902.5756, or mail to P.O. Box 220009, Milwaukie, OR 97269-0009 (be sure to include proof of DSHS benefits or income). For questions, contact SafeLink at 1.800.977.3768.
YourTel Wireless: Apply online or mail application with proof of DSHS benefits or income to 401 E Memorial Rd, Suite 500, Oklahoma City, OK 73114. For questions, contact YourTel at 1.877.388.1082.