Posted on July 15, 2020

In today’s fast-paced and highly interconnected economy, being available 24/7 via text, phone call, or email is vital for everyone. Smartphones are the primary way most people maintain that level of constant contact with friends, family, and work. In fact, it has become increasingly difficult to even get hired for a job if you don’t have a phone number and email address where you can be contacted. So where does that leave the portion of the American population that is already struggling to make ends meet and can’t afford the “luxury” of a cell phone?

You may not be aware of this, but the American government has recognized the fact that telecommunications are a necessity and not a luxury since Ronald Reagan was president. In the 1980s the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) established a program named Lifeline which was designed to ensure free or discounted access to landline telephones for low-income families. As time has moved on and technology progressed, the Lifeline program evolved into what many people refer to as “Obama phones” but the goal remains the same: ensure access to necessary phone services for low-income families.

So, how exactly does the Lifeline program translate to getting a free phone with a food stamp card? First off, there’s good news! When figuring out how to get a phone with food stamps, you aren’t forced to choose between food or phone service. Simply being on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/Food Stamps), may be enough to qualify you for a free phone and Lifeline phone service. Additionally, you may qualify if you are a part of any of several other government assistance programs such as Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, Federal Public Housing Assistance, or Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit. If you are currently participating in any of these programs (as well as a few others that might be specific to the state you live in), then you may qualify for a Lifeline phone and service. Beyond being a member of government assistance programs, you may also be eligible for Lifeline service if you are at or below 135% of federal poverty guidelines for income. Assist Wireless is available to help you determine if you are eligible and find the service and phone that are right for you, whether it be a free option or one of several low-cost options.

Of course, as is the case with all government programs, there will be some paperwork to fill out and verify. Usually, these can be completed online, but employees at Assist Wireless can also help you in person. You will want to be sure to bring copies of all your paperwork, such as proof of government assistance, program participation, or several months of income verification. Once everything is completed and verified, your enrollment will be complete, and your service will begin. There are several options available to you from that point.

You will be informed of the phone model(s) that are available. Additionally, if you already have a phone you like, you can keep that phone (as long as it is unlocked and compatible with the Assist networks) and simply begin your Lifeline phone service on the device you are already familiar with. This is a great option for many customers who may be new to the Food Stamp program as you may already own a phone which is set up the way you prefer. Many older customers also prefer this option as they would rather not learn to navigate different menus and options on a newer phone. Assist Wireless calls this option Bring Your Own Device and right now it comes with some additional benefits such as a $15 account credit or 1 GB of free data on your Lifeline service.

For those customers who don’t want to bring their own phone, or who just want to see what types of phones are available, you don’t have to worry about being forced to carry an ancient device. New customers can get a FREE 5.5” phone when they enroll with Assist Wireless.

As you can see, there are quite a few options available to those in search of a free cell phone for food stamp recipients. The government recognizes that a cell phone is an essential element of life in our country. From finding and maintaining employment to being able to call government offices to obtain and maintain benefits, to such basic necessities as being able to call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency, Americans need to have access to a phone in order to conduct the daily business of living.

The entire reason the Lifeline program was originally created was to ensure that all American households had access to phone service in light of the dwindling availability of other options, such as payphones, and the increasing need to be able to make calls to remain safe or economically viable as individuals within our society. The days of phone service being a luxury ended in the 1980s with the introduction of the original version of Lifeline service for landlines and has evolved to the point today where we recognize that a smartphone is not a luxury either. Cell phone service with a touch screen smartphone is so ubiquitous at this time that to be without it would place anyone at a significant disadvantage as well as force them to face unnecessarily unsafe situations with a lack of access to emergency services. This evolution highlights the importance of such devices as essential resources in our social and personal lives. If you are the recipient of food stamps, you should check out the Lifeline program. Just go to an Assist Wireless store or visit assistwireless.com today and see if you are eligible.

Why Choose Assist Wireless?

Qualify for a free food stamp phone and get free phone service through the government’s Lifeline and Affordable Connectivity Programs. Assist Wireless provide more rewards and perks than any other Oklahoma Lifeline provider, enabling you to talk, text, and browse whether you’re at home and on the go.

Our customers can take advantage of unique rewards on their birthdays and activation date anniversaries, allowing you to save even more on top of your government-mandated benefits.

Assist Wireless offers free unlimited talk and text plus free data when you qualify for the Lifeline program. Stay in touch with family, friends, and more with the lowest data refill rates on the market. Assist Wireless guides you every step of the way by providing a free cell phone for food stamp recipients. 

Discover if you are eligible for free cell phone service with Assist Wireless today.

 

FAQs

How do I know if I can receive a free phone with food stamps?

Your household can apply for and receive a food stamp phone if you meet the qualifying requirements of the Lifeline program. According to the terms of the program, consumers must have an income at or below 135% of the current Federal Poverty Guidelines. If your monthly income is too high, you can qualify through various federal assistance programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or food stamps. 

Please ensure you have the necessary documents to prove your eligibility, such as an EBT card or other official paperwork. If you have any questions about the application process or the documents required, Assist Wireless is here to help.

Recipients of free government phone service may also qualify for the Affordable Connectivity Program Oklahoma (ACP), enabling you to take advantage of even bigger savings on your data needs. Get connected by filing your application with the help of Assist Wireless to receive a free SNAP phone today.

How long does the application process take?

The first step is to fill out an application in order to get a food stamp phone. The Assist Wireless application form takes no more than 15-20 minutes to complete. Under the terms of the program, you must file your application through an authorized provider. The time it takes to get connected to your new plan depends on the provider. We aim to confirm your eligibility within five business days.

Note that many states require annual proof of eligibility. When the time comes to prove your continued eligibility for a free cell phone with SNAP benefits, we will send you explicit instructions on what you need to provide us to maintain uninterrupted service.

What do I do if my application is denied?

Sometimes, you may be rejected for a free phone if you have food stamps. Rejection does not mean you do not qualify. In many cases, rejections occur because the applicant provided a lack of proof, unclear photos, or incomplete information.

Before you re-apply, carefully review and select the correct forms and information to support your application. Ensure that all photos and documents are clear and complete. If you find any missing or unclear information, you can re-upload these to strengthen your application. Remember, it’s crucial to sign all required documents accurately.

Note that no exceptions can be made if you do not meet the program’s requirements. If you have been rejected in the past and your circumstances have changed, you can re-apply for a free phone with food stamps.

Do I have to give up my food stamps in exchange for a phone?

Absolutely not. Since you cannot use food stamps to purchase a phone or cell service, the government implemented the Lifeline and ACP programs to offer affordable calling and data internet service to those recipients of federal benefits.

Food stamp free government smartphones will have zero impact on your eligibility for SNAP/food stamps. Moreover, your food stamp entitlements do not change based on your Lifeline status.

Can you get a free phone with food stamps?

Applying for a free phone with food stamps is just one of several pathways to qualify for the Lifeline program. Other federal benefits programs could also make you eligible for free data and cell service. 

Alternatively, many families qualify through the household income requirement. Since income requirements are based on the Federal Poverty Guidelines, the exact annual dollar amount depends on your household size.

Check with Assist Wireless to discover whether you qualify for a free phone with food stamps or via qualifying as a low-income household.

Lifeline Program

Due to sharing many of the same eligibility requirements those currently enrolled in the lifeline program may qualify for The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) also.

Medicaid / Medi-Cal

Program Approval Letter, Benefit Statement, or Verification of Coverage Letter, should contain the following basic information:

  • Name of the program or state equivalent,
  • Name of the beneficiary,
  • Address of the beneficiary, and
  • Date of the award

OR

Eligibility Screenshot or printout from an online portal or website tool, should contain the following basic information:

  • Name of the program or state equivalent,
  • Name of the beneficiary
  • Medical Identification number, OR
  • Case number,
  • Eligibility dates, OR
  • Current participation status

Federal Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans & Survivors Pension Benefit

Pension Grant Letter, should contain the following basic information:

  • Participant’s name
  • Address
  • A decision about the participant’s monthly entitlement amount
  • Payment start date

Federal Public Housing Assistance (FPHA)

FPHA award letter, should contain the following basic information:

  • Name of the program,
  • Date of the award,
  • Name of the beneficiary, and
  • Award amount.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Approval Letter or Benefit Statement issued by the SSA, or on SSA letterhead.

  • Consumer’s name
  • Date
  • Eligibility Date
  • Claim number OR Other consumer identification number
  • Payment amount

SNAP / Food Stamps / CalFresh

Program Approval Letter, Benefit Statement, or Verification of Coverage Letter, should contain the following basic information:

  • Name of the program,
  • Name of the beneficiary,
  • Eligibility dates, OR
  • Current participation status

OR

Eligibility Screenshot or printout from an online portal or website tool, should contain the following basic information:

  • Name of the program or state equivalent,
  • Name of the beneficiary,
  • Case number,
  • Eligibility dates, OR
  • Current participation status