Government Phones

Government Phones Are Available for SNAP Users

If you receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP) benefits, you may also be eligible to receive a government phone. Government phones are part of the federal Lifeline Assistance Program, which aims to help individuals stay connected to vital assistance programs and life-saving services. In addition to keeping you connected to vital services, government phones also provide you with a reliable way for employers to contact you if you are searching for work or for your current employer to reach you when he or she needs you. You can also use government phones to stay connected to your friends and family, and reach them when you need them most.
The benefits of having a reliable form of communication are endless because staying connected in our digitized world is important for your daily life and integration into modern society. Continue reading below to learn more about eligibility requirements and how to apply for a government phone.

Additional Resources SNAP

Who is eligible for a government phone?

Government phones are available to low-income and disadvantaged individuals who need a reliable form of communication, but are unable to afford it. Individuals who receive SNAP benefits usually qualify for government phones because they already meet the requirements for other government programs based on financial need. However, this is not always the case and applicants are advised to evaluate the eligibility requirements for every new program they decide to apply to. The minimum gross income to qualify for a government phone varies throughout the United States as each state has a different income requirement. In addition to monetary qualifications, applicant eligibility will also depend on citizenship status, age, disability, and household size. Anyone who wishes to apply for a government phone will need to meet all the eligibility criteria of their state in order to qualify.

Who should apply for government phones?

Individuals that are most likely to receive government phones are the elderly, those with disabilities and those that fall below the median income of their communities. Elderly individuals and those with disabilities are usually highest on the eligibility list because they are prone to medical emergencies. Because the government phone program strives to provide a lifeline to those in need, individuals that are more likely to encounter an emergency are considered the highest priority. The Lifeline Assistance Program also seeks to provide reliable communication to those who cannot afford it in order to improve their quality of life. Whether a government phone helps keep at-risk individuals connected to life-saving services, or helps low-income individuals secure work, government phones can help improve a person's circumstances.

Additional Resources Government Phones

Features of Government Phone Plans

One of the most important and most recently added feature of government phones is internet access. With your free phone service, you and your family also have access to a vital resource for research, online banking, and more. You can access online accounts, connect to news outlets and check email using your government phone. If you do not have a computer or internet access in your home, your government phone may provide your family with the needed access to up-to-date information on demand. Additionally, you can usually find information online that you cannot get over the phone. The internet provides a source to conduct research for school projects and to increase general knowledge on a range of topics.

Use Your Own Phone With Free Service

In some states, you can use your existing phone to connect to free government provided phone service. This allows you to continue utilizing a phone you invested in while reducing the financial burden of staying in touch with employers and family. You may have access to additional services when you choose to use your own phone, such as more free data for internet usage for a limited time and 4G speed capability. However, you can still receive many of the same features when you opt for a free phone. Both government phone plans offer unlimited texting, at least 1GB of free data, unlimited testing, voicemail, caller ID and 411-directory assistance.

How do I apply for a government phone?

  • Similar to a SNAP application, you can apply for a government phone online, in person or by mail. You will also need to have the following documents on hand to complete an application:
  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship or legal residency
  • Proof of residency in state of application
  • Proof of income
  • Proof of disability, if applicable

Once you have gathered the necessary documentation, you will be able to correctly and effectively fill out the sections of a government phone application. The fastest way to submit an application is by filling one out online. You can avoid any long lines and unnecessary wait times by turning in an application online rather than having to go to a local assistance office. When mailing an application, you run the risk of having your application delayed due to unforeseen circumstance and having to wait weeks or even months for the department to process it. Your application may also be lost in the mail and you do not want to risk having all of your personal information fall into the wrong hands. Submitting an online application is the quickest and safest method of applying for a government phone and is highly recommended. However, the application method is purely dependent on your personal preference.

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Additional Information

Whichever method you use to apply for a government phone, it is important to be prepared before sitting down to fill out an application. You may run into confusing questions as you fill out each section, so be sure to have all of your important documents on hand for easy reference. For example, you will need your Social Security Number and your tax return forms to verify your citizenship status and total gross income. Being prepared will allow you to fill out the application efficiently and get your government phone that much faster.

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