Frequently Asked Questions for the Lifeline Program and Cell Phones

All the information that the vast majority of readers should need can be found on the informational pages of our site. But we’ve created this FAQ page to attempt to answer other questions that come up most often. If you have a question that you don’t see answered, please go to our Help page to learn how to submit your question to us.

The Frequently Asked Questions are categorized into several groups for ease of finding information about the specific question you have about the free cell phones available through the various Lifeline companies.

Popular FAQ’s

About the program


Phones and Plans

Participant Issues

Assurance Wireless Specific

Safelink Wireless Specific



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Before you post your comment...

  1. If you are going to ask "how do I get a cell phone?" go here instead.
  2. If you are going to ask "how do I get a replacement phone," go here instead
  3. We are not your cell phone company. All technical questions should be asked of your vendor.
  4. Your comments are moderated, and we will manually approve those worth publishing within 24 hours.


  1. Tamika says

    I need to unlock my phone. The PUK seems to keep popping up on my phone, after my child played with my phone then locked up my phone

  2. Etelvina F. da Silva says

    I would like to know the Government Dept that works w/Safelink because Safelink is NOTHING BUT A BIG SPAM. I would like Government to investigate what Safelink is doing!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. halie says

    on the full certification application for Mississippi lifeline assistance program
    Safelink wireless
    Magnolia health plan
    I am 18 and on the application it says use your parent or guardian for section 1 and 3. Do you have to use your parents information even if your 18?

  4. Ace Catlin says

    The phone is too little and I cannot see the numbers over the letters on it I like to get a bigger one that I can see

  5. Jerry Bustos says

    I only get disability from the VA….I’m a Vietnam Cal-Veteran….
    Does that qualifie me for this program..?

  6. Jonathan Lance Taylor says

    WhAt compAny in California will give me the best free phone a Samsung fallacy 5 if possible refurbished

  7. mary j. dieckhoff says


  8. martha mills says

    I added 10.00 dollars minutes to my phone and it said it went to my international account now I have no minutes and no idea what that means

  9. Anon says

    I received a cell phone from Safelink and I can not see the screen – the tiny sized screen is too small for my vision restrictions. I called Safelink to request a replacement with a larger viewing screen. The Rep told me they have an LG phone available with a 3.2 inch screen, that he would have it sent to me, and it would arrive within 7 to 10 days. I waited but nothing arrived for more than 20 days. I called back and spoke to a different Rep. Told me she would research, but got disconnected THREE times, each time a new Rep (one even said that the LG is the largest screen size they have available but it isn’t available in Indiana). This person promised to have a supervisor speak with me – GOT DISCONNECTED. Called them back again and the last person I spoke to assured me I was getting the LG with a 3.2 screen. O, yes I finally did get the replacement phone…the SAME phone I got the first time! Tiny screen, can’t see it! As I told them over and over, I don’t want anything “fancy” (no Smart Phone, no extra service features) I just want to be able to SEE the thing!!! I am so very frustrated and I’d like to cancel this and try another service, but I can’t find info about the phones offered – apparently, and according to Safelink, it varies by state??!!?? What can I do to find a service with phones with a larger viewing screen? Thank you.

    • says

      No way to know in advance, for the most part. Order your phone through the company’s website or call them to order instead.

  10. carina says

    is there a way for me to block someones calls and texts to where i will not receive any notification about it? i really want to block someone on my phone.

  11. Fran EAngel says

    Actually have two questions…I haven’t applied for a phone with anyone yet, but I know I would qualify.
    Safelink says they are Tracfone-based.
    Do you know if my old triple-minute for life Tracfone will work with their service and provide tripled minutes if I need to buy a Tracfone card?
    OK, second question:
    What if you get a phone and the signal doesn’t work at your house? Can you just cancel that company’s service and try another service – or is changing providers a huge problem to do once you have applied and gotten your phone?
    Thanks for the trouble of answering…

  12. patsy thacker says

    I need to return my phone. I called and the said I have no service in my area. I lost my box while moving. How do I return this phone. Thanks. Pat

    • says

      I assume you would mail it to them. Or just don’t use it for 60 days and the service will self-cancel.

  13. nancy says

    i got a free phone, the # is from another area code. i was told i can change online, have yet to find a site that lets me. anybody else with this problem??

  14. Kenith Olson says


    Am searching for the email , tel, and USA mailing address for SafeLink Customer Retention Dept.

    Checked your website FAQ and other sections but found nothing for SafeLink Customer Retention Dept.



  15. Karen Wagner says

    Are there phones available with larger buttons for seniors that have vision issues? If so, how do we locate them?

  16. Chester C. Graham says

    Can you refer me to the government regulation or FCC Rule that authorizes the cell phone program? I would like the legal citation of the provision authorizing the program.

  17. derrick says

    I just did an application online but when I got my documents to upload my session timed out .I downloaded my application can I use that to send with my documents.if so what’s the email address to send it to

    • says

      We don’t even know which company you are dealing with. We are not a cell phone company, just a info site.

  18. William Krick says

    I have a low income free phone from Budget Mobile, and want change the flip phone for a smart phone witch is now offered. Is there any way to upgrade my phone? They have just recenty closed all the offices in California, I have no where to go. When I call their office all I get is recording wanting to upgrade my lifeline account. Can you find a number I could use to talk to a real person?

  19. linda says

    I signed up for an assurance phone. I wanted my phone at the time of signing. the young me told me ok. but that waS a lie. it took a little over a month. I charged the phone it looked used. battery was already in it.. I went out of town tried to use the phone to call family. had to us a phone inside bus station. call them the next day oh the recording said I did not have enough minute’s. I just got the phone.. called them they had all my information but the pass word question did not match I wasn’t as that when I got the phone. so he osar would not connect my phone and I needed it too call my. doctor my sugar was at 50 and I needed to know what to do.. this phone goes back soon. the phone is too cheap anyway you can barely hear and it seem like you are about to drop the call. I used my son computer to text my doctor. sugar was going back up after a while. And you say tell a friend not if I want to keep them.

  20. diana alldredge says

    Requesting contact phone number-
    I answer the phone for our Human Services Division at Lane County (government), Oregon. Most of the time when people call me they don’t have access to the internet. Is there a phone number they can call to find out more and to enroll?

  21. Larry Davis says

    My phone has been lost for about two months now, and I’ve called the number I’m supposed to and all i get is prerecorded messages… So I don’t know what else to do but leave this post… Please email me and please let me know exactly what I need to do to receive my safelink replacement phone thanks……. Larry Davis

  22. Susan Card says

    Do you have to be a certain age to get this phone? I have a friend who has a 14 year old child that has gotten a “free” phone, some how.

  23. peter laufbahn says

    i ran out of minutes so i topped off with the 5.00 plan for and additional 250 but my service was cut off before i used 60 minutes what is going on

  24. Steve says

    I am looking for a manual for my phone, however it only says “T-Mobile” on it, no make or model.

    I can’t get the voicemail box to set up. The vendor is only at the church once a month, so I have no other assistance with these issues.

    I also have signal issues, which is weird because I’m in downtown Minneapolis, MN.


  25. Charlene bennett says

    I have filled out everything and I get the same message that I cannot get a cellphone I make under the amount iam on Medicare why. Please help me

  26. Anthony says

    Why can’t we use the camera every time I’m going to use it it says to insert an SD card to use the camera? Why is that

    • says

      Because photos need to be stored in memory and with a memory card (SD card) there is nowhere to put the photo.

  27. Laurie L says

    its terribly frustrating to sign up. I only get the run around.
    very upset.
    please help me
    as Im trying to help a senior citizen out


    I APPLY ON JULY 6, 2015 AND MY USER NAME IS my email address and like to know want I have to do to get my free cell phones with min. and text please me back

    • says

      If you applied on July 6, that is only five days. You’ll have to wait longer than that.

  29. Teresa Woody says

    I was wondering if I could upgrade to a better phone with my assure wireless provider. Thank you,

  30. M.Neff says

    I got a SafeLink phone and plan, but I want to buy a smartphone. Can I switch my reg safelink number and plan to a new smartphone if I buy one? If so how do I do it or who do I contact?

  31. Tim Green says

    Can a person keep their old cell phone number when getting a free phone and minutes ? I looked through all my states providers, and didn’t see that answered.



  32. Kathy S. says

    I didn’t receive my minutes when I recertified earlier this month. The operators stated I was successful when I completed the process. When do the minutes appear?

  33. Judy Lilly says

    Is there a site where I can read customer reviews regarding Providers? That seems to be the biggest problem with this program.

  34. nazario tejeda says

    Can you please help me. I am in Sacramento Ca. I would pay and have my phone with me when I went to a place on Florin Road in the south area of Sacramento. It was a small place to buy a phone or and pay your bill. Well this month they are no longer there. Plus the other one on Howe Ave is gone too, I need some one to tell me where is a center here locally if you would please? I need to have a repair to my voice mail as well because it is stuck and I can’t get them to open up and play/ So if any one knows anything to help me please let me know Even a phone number would help.

    Thank You Nazario Tejeda

  35. Karen Hanley says in an assisted. Living center and my whole social goes to this facility. I’m also on a diverfe program through Medicaid which pays half of my care there. Through this program I receive $54.00. a month for my personal needs. Can I receive a home phone through this program? They don’t provide phone service and if you want a phone you have to pay for it and that is quite expensive and I can’t afford the cost. I’m really in need of this time. Can you assist me in this matter? Thanks

  36. Paul Anthony Wesbecher says

    Hey There;
    Hi, It’s just me again. Just read down your page after I posted my comment / request.
    Please do not post the personal info. contained in that correspondence. P— W——–.

  37. Jacqueline Polk says

    “These free phones aren’t cheap wireless phones or a discounted models. These are recent model, fully-featured cell phones, backed by prominent mobile phone companies. You won’t get an iPhone, but you’ll get a basic, modern phone.” The phone I received from Assurance is a Kyocera S1360, it’s a cheap worthless phone and is a discounted model with no camera. I have searched the web for the release date of this phone and couldn’t find it. I sent Assurance e-mail about the quality of the phone. The response I received stated that the phone sent to me was a “program” Kyrocera Jax 1360 again, I’ve searched the web and it’s non-existent. Evidently they don’t even know what they sent me.. The Rally model looks exactly like my phone but it’s not. It is a fully equipped modern phone. This must be the model they sold to the government for the free phone program. But these are not the ones the qualified recipients received. If you can’t do anything about this, please refer me to someone who can.

  38. Crystal Moreno says

    My question is – I graduated from college 2014, lived with my boyfriend, and then have had to stay with my Mom, I don’t know that I can continue living with my bf, so I’ll be trying to stay with my Mom.

    My Mom cannot afford to pay for a phone for me because she is currently paying for rent, utilities, and food, also, my sister cannot afford to pay for a phone for me as she works at a part time job and is paying off bills that won’t accommodate for a phone that will help me. However, the total income they both make is over the low income amount you have posted.

    I don’t have an income. I need to find a job. I can’t even drive yet. Is there anyway that I can use my Mom’s address to sign up for a free phone?

    • says

      You should have your mom apply for the phone, and then she can let you use it, as long as there is not someone yet in your household with a Lifeline phone already.

    • says

      The only thing you could try is to contact your phone provider (try 611) and ask. It’s doubtful they will comply though.