I only have a PO Box, how can I get a free cell phone?

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We’ve had many people write us, complaining that they are unable to get a free phone through the federal government Lifeline program because they only have a Post Office Box. It’s a shame, but if you do not have a physical address, it is against the rules of the program.

This is not something that is under the control of any of the mobile phone companies that provide free cell phones, like Safelink Wireless, Assurance Wireless and ReachOut Wireless.

Find a friend or relative whose address you can use, if and only if you truly qualify for the phone and are unable to get it with your PO Box address.


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  1. Toye says

    I live in rural Arkansas on a county road. Why can’t I use my billing address like I do for everything else? It keeps telling me its a general address & won’t accept my application. Help!

  2. NANCy says

    I have lived in my home for 60 years and I am 82 years old. I have tried for two years to get a free cell phone. Just told them last week I would not try any more. I have filled out application online and accepted only to be told general delivery is not acceptable. I was told I could not have it sent to my son’s that would be a working address. I think that it is so unfair to have to beg for one of their phones. I am considering filing a complaint with FTC. Probably would not do any good. I offered copies of my deed and utility bills as proof their is a address her. No go their either. Cannot believe this is government. Has to be the phone carriers.

  3. gil lutz says

    I have lived at this address for 15 years. It is the physical address on file with government agencies and social servces. However. since there is no mail delivery in the rural area in which I live, I maintain a PO Box in Hilo. Hawaii. Certainly, there is a way to overcome this obstacle short of moving to an area which has mail delivery. There are entire communities where, lacking door-to-door mail delivery, all residents must get mail from PO Boxes. Such as the old part Bisbee AZ 85603, where houses are accessible only by stairways, not roads. Certainly, with that area having a high poverty rate, they are not excluded from the phone program. Your response on this matter, please.

  4. happy says

    a) some post office allow “general delivery” so has physical street address. hold package for 30 days. Bring government identification with face picture. Free , no cost.
    b) homeless shelters , social service organizations ( public assistance aid ) do allow clients to receive postal mail. Bring government identification with face picture.

    • FreeGovernmentCellPhones.net says

      Thanks a lot happy. That’s helpful information. The only issue is that if any one other person has received a Lifeline cell phone at that same address in the last year, then no one else will be able to since it would violate the one phone per address rule.

  5. Kara Bismarck says

    I have been having the same problem. You can see my house from Google, but at USPS.com it just doesn’t exist as we have our mail delivered to a p.o. box. I contacted the post office, and they suggested I contact my local post office to see if they offer a service called “move to competitive mailing” or something similar. Wonderfully kind lady at the post office. That allows you to use the post office address to receive mail from places that don’t deliver to post office boxes, such as Federal Express. They sent my phone to the p.o. box, but cut off my service as my address can’t be validated at usps.com.

    This is a new service with the post office, so hopefully this helps someone. I know, it is very frustrating. And the people at Safelink are not helpful at all.

    Good luck,

  6. Susan says

    Con’t …won’t take another one. I can’t use mine as I have a phone from another co. at my address. This is infuriating, that honest people, who qualify, can’t participate in the program. My parents both over 80 yrs old have to drive almost 2 hrs. just to get to their P.O. Box to pick up mail. I realize this must be to prevent fraud, but why should honest people who are truly in need be penalized.?! Surely the gov. could find a way to verify, the integrity of an application! The application requires proof of assistance st. or gov. at the P.O. Box! Why is this not satisfactory!? I don’t know if I’m more AGGRAVATED or DISGUSTED.

  7. Daniella says

    WOW, guess I not the only one having trouble getting free phone, I have a PO. box too, and I called the main office, the reason they can’t validated the address and they don’t delivered the mail here. The PO told to them to send it to there PO with there address can’t do that either. I think they going to have to change the rules for us who don’t have the mail delivered the government wants to help but this is not helping, I know there was a catch nothing is for free.

  8. Dana Smith says

    I’ve had my address for 5 yrs, it’s my residential and 911 address. I had no problem before with this address, but this yr 2014 they are telling me that this address is outside the Tag?s service area. Don’t know how that could be it’s the same address I had when I got the phone last yr. And when I call the repersent. I speak with can’t understand English very well and I can’t understand her. All she could say is use the alternet address. I don’t have one she told me to call back when I could find one. It would really be nice to be able to speak with someone who would try to figure out what was going on instead of the answer I got because I really need the phone and don’t want them to turn the services off. Please if someone at Tagmobile could please e-mail and let me know what i need to do to resolve this problem. Thanks Dana *****, *** *** ****

  9. joyce says

    I have tried and tried to get a free goverment phone for over a year now. I have lived at my residense now going on 15 years. I have never had a problem with delivery until i tried getting the goverment phone. They say my address does not exist. I desperately need a phone and for the life of me can not get one due to where they will not let you recieve one in your mail box at the post office. A post office is a safe place to recieve the phone. With the phone being delivered to your home, if you’re not home and a thief decides he or she wants it, then there lays a free phone for them to pick up and carry away. Please start sending the phones to our post office box where it’s safe to get it.

  10. Billy G. says

    Since I use a p. o. box is it legal to use my father inlaw address on app. to safe link.
    Thanks Billy G.

    • joyce says

      yes billy it is legal to use you’re father in law or anyone elses address to recieve the free goverment phone. Only problem is there is only one phone allowed at the address, so if you’re father in law needed a phone he would’nt be allowed to use his address to get it.

  11. Crystal says


  12. Shannon S. says

    You know, I think that is discriminating to people (like me) who receive assistance from the state, only have one option for mail delivery (PO Box), and are in need of a free government assisted cell phone. I am a mother of 2 boys, and it would be a big help to my family to be able to qualify, and have that ability to keep in touch with my children. Especially in case of an emergencies. If someone has knowledge of a company who is willing to accept a PO box to qualify please, please, please respond! Thank you!

    • Shannon S. says

      I am a West Virginia resident. I know some cell companies are not doing the program in my state. Just thought I would save someone the trouble of a response to a company who does not offer it in my state. Thanks again!

  13. sandy smith says

    im not able to get a free cell phone (goverment phone) my on food stamps and getting partical help and no one will delivery to my po box or fed ex a phone i live in the country where i have no mailbox by road …. i only have a po box how do i get one . i live alone due to domestic voilience and i cant get safelink unless i install a mailbox . which cost money!!! which i dont have anymore .. HELP!!!!

  14. Sherry says

    Safelink is now in the process of developing a “white list” of places in the country that do not have residential mail delivery. Hopefully this situation will be resolved soon!

  15. Sherry says

    Wow – I think you just suggested that people commit fraud to use the service. I’m on LIHEAP and for verification have to show proof of that. That’s certainly not going to work if my utility bills are for a different address than I’ve listed for my phone. I’ve been working on the problem of people not having mail delivery service at their residences and it seems like it may get resolved soon.

    By the way, at this time Assurance is more willing to work with anyone with that problem than Safelink is.

    • AZ Skye says

      I’ve been through the mill of homelessness for at least seven years, sometimes living in my car, sometimes able to find employment that pays minimum wage without benefits and be able to live month-to-month in a cheap motel, which is for me a luxury.

      I have Aspergers and Complex PTSD. In the past four years I’ve been re-victimized by people who promised me a safe place to live and have or be able to seek employment, only to be physically abused, subjected to threats, harassment, ridicule and bullying by people who gave me “a job” in exchange for helping them with domestic chores, property management, advocacy for medical and legal issues..the list goes on.

      It’s difficult to get on one’s feet when your “landlord” or “host” turns out to be a substance abuser, a predator, a sociopath or combination of the aforementioned.The DES does not require a home address (you can live “Under a Bridge”), but they do require a place where clients can receive mail. I have no family and only one friend who has remained a friend, who has not attempted to exploit or harm me in exchange for a place to stay.

      On my last “job”, I was promised privacy and a peaceful environment in exchange for preventing theft or damage to anything on my “employer’s” property and was told that work would be done on my car and I’d be paid for my time and vigilance. I did my job. The biggest thief I dealt with was my “employer”, who tried after a month of seeming like a very nice person, to start a romance with me that I was totally disinterested in having. He went on to destroy my car battery and siphoned gas from the tank! He never once admitted responsibility or paid for the damage he did.

      Medications I take for anxiety and sleep came up mysteriously “short” and one entire prescription, still in the pharmacy bag, just as mysteriously appeared in my “employer’s” residence. He “found” it while rummaging through one of his cabinets while I was sitting and watching and casually hands me the bag while saying: “I think this is yours.” There was no reason this would ever have accidentally have come into his possession. One staple was missing from the bag..enough to push the bottle out of the bag. I’ve yet to count the number of capsules. I could say nothing without putting myself at risk.

      This man would deny ever entering my “home”, although he was the only other person with a key. When I returned from a rare few hours “vacation” helping a friend who needed support after a medical procedure, I found the shelves where I kept my prescriptions hidden behind books in total disarray. He blamed my cats!

      I could not afford low-cost cell phone service, as I had (and have) little more than change in my pocket. This was a moot point, as cell my phone charger disappeared and only reappeared in a totally bizarre place where I found it when I was preparing to move out, after I had to admit the situation had become unacceptably dangerous for me. There’s the message: no one is suggesting that people commit fraud by asking to use a reliable address. Some of us haven’t any choice.

      The reality and disruption of homelessness for any person is very hard to face. It’s chaotic and makes a person extremely vulnerable. Some just attempt or succeed in committing suicide. For someone with Aspergers and Complex PTSD, it is very often complete and utter hell. I want to trust, to get back to a place of stability and self-reliance, to find a real job that pays a living wage rather than ask the government for a check (it’s humiliating enough to be getting Nutritional Assistance and subsidized medical care after working so hard for decades).

      Every time I experience trauma, my ability to cope with people is severely comprised. I fear interacting with other humans. There’s no appropriate counseling available where I live and the insurance that’s provided to me doesn’t cover anything as exotic as EDMR or hypnotherapy. I’m very fortunate to have insurance at all!

      So I’ve used an address and PO Box that I can rely on where I live on a temporary basis, rather than put my faith and mail into the hands of people whose motives too often are not what they seem.. is this any more fraudulent than Safe Houses using a mail forwarding service to protect the precise location of an abused person from an abuser?