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U.S. Cellular Discounted Lifeline/ACP Plans

U.S. CellularUS Cellular is another telecommunications provider that that participates in the Federal Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Programs (ACP). U.S. Cellular does not offer free phones or free tablets. They do, however, offer monthly discounts. Therefore, you must bring your own phone or purchase a phone from them to use their service.

Currently (2022), US Cellular offers Lifeline and ACP discounts for eligible households in the states of Iowa, Illinois, Kansas*, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. They also offer ACP-only discounts in the state of California.

Lifeline/ACP Plans

Below is a summary of what US Cellular offers eligible customers:

Tribal Lifeline: Post Paid

  • Nationwide Unlimited Voice, Messaging and 20GB Data
  • Cost $39.25 per month (cost before applying the Lifeline discount)

Tribal Lifeline: Prepaid

  • Nationwide Unlimited Voice, Messaging and 20GB Data
  • Cost: $36 per year (yes, that’s per year, not per month)

Non-Tribal Plans: Post Paid

  • Nationwide Unlimited Voice, and Unlimited messaging and 20GB Data
  • Cost: $34.25 per month (cost before applying the Lifeline discount)

Lifeline Missouri

  • 1000 Nationwide Minutes
  • Unlimited incoming nights and weekends
  • Mobile to Mobile calls
  • Additional minutes: 10 cents per minute
  • Cost: $24.95 per month (cost before applying the Lifeline discount)

Phone features for all of the above plans include: Voice Mail, Call Waiting,Caller ID, Call Forwarding, Three-Way Calling

U.S. Cellular - Affordable Connectivity Plans

In accordance with the ACP, US Cellular offers discounts of up to $30 for eligible households not living on Tribal Lands and a $75 discount for households living on qualifying Tribal Lands.

New customers must purchase a new line and either the 2GB or 5GB prepaid service plan. Existing US Cellular customers need to verify ACP eligibility and then opt into the ACP program.

Since the monthly charge for the 2GB plan is $25/mo and the 5GB plan is $30/month, applying the ACP discount will zero out the monthly cost thus meaning the service is free.

Both the 2GB and 5GB plans come with Unlimited Talk and Text with Video streaming SD (480p).

US Cellular Additional Plans

If the data limit on 2GB or 5GB is not enough, US Cellular offers higher Data-limit plans as follows:

  • 15GB for $40 per month
  • Unlimited plan for $50 per month
  • Unlimited Plus for $60 per month

You can apply the ACP discount to whichever plan you choose.

How to Qualify for US Cellular Lifeline/ACP Discounts

You must enroll in Lifeline and/or ACP to take advantage of the above discounts. Once you’re enrolled in the Lifeline program, you automatically meet the criteria for the Affordable Connectivity Program.

To qualify for Lifeline benefits you must satisfy at least one of the following eligibility criteria:

  1. Have a household income at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (for ACP, the household income threshold is 200% or below the federal poverty guidelines). Or,

  2. Participate in one of the following government assistance programs:
    • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
    • Medicaid
    • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
    • Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)
    • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit

    In addition to the above programs, you may qualify if you live on Tribal lands and participate in any of the following assistance programs:

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

For more information on qualifying programs, please visit the USAC website.

How to Apply for Lifeline Service

After meeting the eligibility criteria, the next step is to visit the National Verifier website and apply for Lifeline.

Before heading over to the National Verifier site, it’s best to assemble the necessary documentation. You will need to show proof of eligibility. Whether it’s an Award or Benefit letter from the government assistance program you participate in or your tax returns or three months of paystubs to prove income. However you qualify, you must have documented proof because you’ll be asked to upload a copy of the proof.

In addition to proof of eligibility, you must provide proof of identity and proof of life. It’s not enough to show a government-issued ID, you must prove that you are still alive. Apparently, people have tried to game the system, so this requirement has become necessary.

See image below for acceptable forms of proof.

Acceptable Proof

Once your application is approved (usually approved immediately unless there is a problem with the documentation), you can then go to US Cellular and apply for their service.

Things to Note:

  • You must use your service at least once every 30 days or run the risk of being de-enrolled in Lifeline.
  • You must recertify every year to prove eligibility
  • If you change your address, you must notify U.S. Cellular within 30 days.

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: 22 November 2022

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