Kansas residents may be eligible to receive free government cell phones along with free talk/text and data through the Lifeline program. The Lifeline program was created to help low-income individuals and families obtain home phone service that otherwise might have been financially difficult to pay for.
Free Government Cell Phones
As of this writing, August 2018, there are two major companies offering free cell phone along with talk/text and data to Kansas residents. Those companies are Safelink Wireless and Assurance Wireless. However, depending on your zip code, Access Wireless, YourTel America or enTouch Wireless, to name a few, may also provide service in your area.
To find out which companies are available in your area, visit the Universal Services Administrative Company website and insert your zip code in the “Companies Near Me” search box.
Please be aware that Lifeline cell phone plans may differ from company to company. For example, one company may offer 350 free talk monthly talk minutes while another may offer 250. Make sure to check the plans before signing up.
Discounted Home Phone Service
If the free cell phone is not something you’re looking for, Kansas residents have the option to receive discounted home phone service. This is different from the free government cell phones in that the discounted service applies to landline services provided by your local phone company. If approved, you may receive a discount of up to $17.02 per month off of your phone bill. The actual discount varies from phone company to phone company. Call your phone company to find out how much of a discount they company offer.
Lifeline Eligibility Requirements
To qualify for the Lifeline benefits you must receive benefits from at least one of the following government programs or have a household income that is either at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines:
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Federal Public Housing Assistance (FHPA)
- Veterans Pension & Survivors Pension Benefit
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Tribally Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families
- Head Start Tribal Programs (only those meeting its income qualifying standard)
- the Food Distribution Program on Tribal Lands
Applying for Free or Discounted Phone Services
To apply for the free government cell phones, visit one of the mobile phone service providers website and complete their online application. Please note that when completing the application, you must have a valid street address. Phone companies will not ship a free cell phone to a P.O. Box.
To apply for the discounted phone service, call your phone company and request a Lifeline Application. It is recommended that you complete the application and return it as soon as possible because the processing takes several weeks. It could take up to three months before you see the discount on your phone bill.
Things to Note
- You may only sign up for one Lifeline program at a time. This means you either apply for the free government cell phones or the home discounted service. You may not participate in both simultaneously.
- Be prepared by having the necessary documentation to prove eligibility. Here is an example of documentation you might need
- You will be required to recertify annually. This is done to make sure you still meet the eligibility criteria.