If you live in Indiana and meet the eligibility requirements, you can sign up to receive free government cell phones through either SafeLink Wireless or Assurance Wireless (as of this writing, ReachOut Wireless doesn’t offer free cell phones in Indiana).
Each cell phone comes with free airtime. The amount of airtime varies depending on the plan selected. Additionally, if you wish to purchase additional airtime, you may do so.
Alternative to Free Cell Phones
Indiana also offers discounted phone service for qualified residents. Both the free and discounted phone service is made available through the Federal Lifeline/Link-Up program. Lifeline/Link-Up was created to make it easier for low-income individuals/households obtain phone service.
Discounted Phone Service Details
The discounted phone service applies to home telephone (landlines). The discounts vary from phone company to phone company but fall within the $8 per month range. To find out how much of a discount your phone company offers, visit the Lifeline Support website.
The Lifeline Support website is co-administered by the Federal Communications Commission and the Universal Services Administrative Company. The site has a comprehensive listing of participating phone companies by state. After you visit the website, click the state of Indiana on the US map. This will bring you to the listing of participating phone companies.
If your current phone company isn’t listed on the Lifeline Support website, call your company to find out how much of a discount they offer.
Phone Installation Charges
You may also qualify to offset a portion of the installation costs. The Link-Up section of the program will pay up to 50% (maximum of $30) of the telephone installation costs on new installations. Residents who live on federally recognized tribal lands might qualify for Enhanced Link-Up, which pays an additional $70 up to $100 in installation costs.
Qualifying for Lifeline/Link-Up Savings
To qualify for these benefits you must participate in at least one of the following government assistance programs or have an income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines:
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
- Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
- Food Stamps
- National School Free Lunch Program
- Federal Public Housing Assistance or Section 8
Applying for Free Government/Discounted Phones
To apply for service through Assurance Wireless or SafeLink Wireless visit the website and complete the online application. Assurance Wireless makes their application available for download so you can download, complete it and mail it to the address indicated on the application.
If you wish to apply for the landline home discount, complete the Lifeline/Link-Up application (which can also be found on the Indiana Utility Consumer Counselor website) and mail it to your local phone company. Make sure to call your phone company first to find out the mailing address for Lifeline applications. It may be different from the billing address.
You must have a valid mailing address to apply for the free government phones. They will not send cell phones to P.O. Boxes or temporary housing facilities.
You may not participate in both the discounted and free government program simultaneously. You may only participate in one at a time.