Free Government Phones

SafeLink Wireless Lifeline Plan

SafeLink Wireless was created by the folks at TracFone, purportedly the largest “no-contract” cell service provider. The purpose of SafeLink Wireless is to provide free wireless phone service, talk minutes, texting and data to qualifying households as part of the Lifeline program.

As one of the largest Lifeline providers, SafeLink Wireless currently offers (as of June 2019) service in the following 44 states:

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin

Although it's an impressive listing of states, SafeLink isn't available in all U.S. states. If they're not available in your state, go to our State Listing page to find wireless providers in your area.

What SafeLink Wireless Offers

Qualified candidates will receive a free smartphone that has the most frequently used features such as caller ID, three-way calling, text messaging, voicemail and 911 access. In addition to the free phone, SafeLink provides free airtime units, unlimited texting and data plans. The website mentions that plans vary by state. However, I checked a handful of states and found that there were basically two plans offered as follows:

  • Free Airtime: 350 units

  • Data: 1.5GB per month for the first three months if you use your own phone. Afterward, SafeLink lowers the data to 1GB per month. The 1GB of data limit is what they offer if you opt to receive the free phone. In other words, by bringing your own phone you get an extra half GB of free data per month for the first 3 months. Afterward, the data limit is the same as if you opted to receive the free phone instead of bringing a own phone.
OR
  • Free monthly airtime minutes: 1,000

  • Data: 2.5GB per month for the first three months (if using your own phone). Then, just like the plan listed above, the data limit drops to 2 GB per month.
Safelink Wireless Phone

The beauty of the plan is you can always purchase additional airtime from your cell phone if you find that you need more than 350 or 1,000 talk minutes per month are not enough. Safelink has several online tutorials, one of which explains how to purchase airtime if needed.

Qualifying for the SafeLink Wireless Program

Although the requirements vary by state, in general, if you participate in any of the following government-sponsored public assistance programs you're eligible:

  • Medicaid
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance (Section 8)
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Food Stamps
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Veterans and Survivors Pension Benefit or,
  • Have an income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (150% in the state of California)

You may also qualify if your state offers the following programs Tribal programs:

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance (BIA)
  • Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)
  • Tribally Administered Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (Tribal TANF)
  • Tribal Head Start (only those households meeting its income qualifying standard)

In addition to the programs previously mentioned, California residents may also qualify if they participate in any of the following government assistance programs:

  • CalFresh, Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
  • California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKS)
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
  • National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
  • Women, Infants and Children Program (WIC)
  • Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN)
  • Stanislaus County Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (StanWORKS)
  • Welfare-to-Work (WTW)

If you meet the qualification criterion, the next step is to get all of your documentation in order and apply.

How to Apply for SafeLink Lifeline

If you live in one of the states that participate in the National Verification process, go to CheckLifeline.org and start your application. Once you're approved by the National Verifier, you can then go to the SafeLink Wireless website, insert your zip code and click Start.

If your state does not yet participate in the National Verification program, you can go directly to SafeLink Wireless and begin your application.

As you’re filling out the application form online, you’ll see a box for a promo code. If you don’t have one, do a quick Google search for promo codes. By using the code you can get additional airtime.

Annual Verification of Eligibility

You are required to verify annually to prove that you’re still eligible for the SafeLink Wireless Lifeline program (aka recertification). The proof can be anything from a sworn statement or physical proof of income. Lastly, if you decide that you no longer want to participate in the SafeLink Lifeline program, you get to keep the phone.

Things to know:

  1. Must make at least one call or send one text each month to keep service active.

  2. Airtime minutes are added to the phone during the first 3 days of the month. Your phone must be powered on in order to receive the airtime.

  3. If you want to make international calls, you’ll need to purchase the Global Calling card.

  4. Only one Lifeline phone is allowed per economic unit.

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: 21 June 2019

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