Free Government Phones

American Assistance - Free Smartphone

American Assistance is a free smartphone provider that participates in the federal Lifeline program. As a result, they not only offer free smartphones, but they also offer free talk/text and data each month to qualified individuals.

Currently, American Assistance offers service in over 20 states. Their cellular service is provided through the Sprint and T-Mobile networks. Although they are using Sprint and T-Mobile, they do not offer service in all of the states the two network carriers provide service. American Assistance is authorized to provide free phones in the states of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota. Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

If you don’t see your state listed, visit our state listing page which will bring you to other free government phone providers in your state.

Lifeline Phone Service Plans

American Assistance offers four Lifeline plans; three for in the state of California and one for all other states as follows:

Non California Monthly Lifeline Plan

1000 Minutes | Unlimited Texting | 1GB of Data at 3G speed.

California Monthly Lifeline Plans

  • Unlimited Voice and Text (Free)
  • Unlimited Voice and Text with 2GB of Data (Free)
  • Unlimited Voice and Text with 5GB of Data (this one costs $20/month)

How to Qualify for American Assistance Lifeline Plan

As with the plans, there are non-California qualifications and California qualifications. For individuals not living in the state of California, you qualify for the Lifeline plan if your income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines.

You also qualify if you participate in any of the following government assistance programs:

  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
  • Food Stamps/SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program)
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit Programs

For individuals living in the state of California, you are eligible if you participate in any of the following government assistance programs or have an income at or below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines:

American Assist
  • CalFresh, Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
  • Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN)
  • Federal Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit Program
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • Medicaid/Medi-Cal
  • National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC)
  • Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
    • California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKS)
    • Stanislaus County Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (StanWORKS)
    • Welfare-to-Work (WTW)

If you’re still unsure as to whether or not you qualify, you can always call or text American Assistance and speak to a member of the customer support team. Their phone number and text number is 1-877-266-7212.

How to Apply forLifeline Phone

American Assistance offers several ways to apply. But, before you apply, make sure to assemble the necessary information. If you qualify based on participating in one of the government assistance plans, make sure to have your qualification letter of proof of plan participation. If you qualify based on income, you must have proof of income.

In addition to proving your eligibility, you also need personal identification of some sort. A state-issued identification card such as a driver’s license or military ID is acceptable. Visit the website for acceptable proofs of ID.

After you have the necessary documentation, check to see if your state is subject to the National Verifyer program. If your state participates in the National Verifyer program, you can begin the application process by visiting CheckLifeline.org. Once nationally verified, you can continue the application process in any of the following ways:

  • Online by visiting the American Assistance website.
  • Call Customer Support 1-877-266-7212
  • Text Customer Support 1-877-266-7212
  • Email Customer Support at freephone@americanassistance.com
  • Fax Customer Support 1-877-211-3705
  • Mail: American Assistance; One Seagate, Suite 600; Toledo, Ohio 43604

Remember, no matter which application option you choose, you have to submit the necessary documentation. Whether you upload your information or mail it to them (do not mail originals), the documentation is necessary for approval.

Once your application is approved, your phone is mailed immediately.

Purchasing Additional Talk/Data (Top Up)

If the allotted monthly amount of talk/text or data is not enough, you can always purchase additional air time, texting or data (Top Up). The price for additional text/talk time ranges from $.99 for 100 text units up to $17.49 for 1000 talk/text units with varying plans in between. To purchase more data, the prices range from $4.49 for 100MB of data up to $44.99 for 5GB. Because there are so many options, you can choose just how much additional air time or data you need.

There are also two options for adding additional time/data. You can add the additional units/data by dialing *611 from your American Assistance phone, or you can call customer support.

A Few Lifeline Tips

  1. Only one Lifeline phone is permitted per household
  2. You must recertify annually to prove that you still meet the eligibility requirements
  3. You must use your free phone at least once every 30 days or run the risk of losing your Lifeline benefits.
  4. If your phone is lost or stolen, contact American Assistance immediately. They will suspend service to your phone to prevent someone else from using your minutes. They will then assist you in getting another phone. The replacement phone is not free.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: This site was created to help people find information about free government phones. We do not mail, activate or repair free government phones nor do we provide service. If you have questions about phone service we suggest you contact the phone service provider directly.

Last Modified: 17 July 2019

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