Can my phone be deactivated if I don’t use it enough?

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Surprisingly, the answer is yes.

If you go for two months with out using it you will be “de-enrolled” from the program. The use of the phone is called “utilization,” and Safelink Wireless, Assurance Wireless and ReachOut Wireless all define utilization as making or receiving a call, attempting to make a call, checking voicemail, sending or opening a text message, checking airtime balance with the dialing sequence of the vendor, any sort of data usage or adding airtime minutes.

If you become de-enrolled, you will have a 30-day grace period to re-enroll by calling the company’s customer service line. ReachOut customers may also re-enroll by demonstrating usage activity. Upon re-enrollment, you will receive the monthly minutes that you were entitled to receive through the date your enrollment was cancelled.

If you do not re-enroll within the 30-day grace period, your phone will be deactivated. Each company has a different way to reactivate your phone:

Safelink Wireless: If your service is deactivated, you may reactivate your service by re-enrolling in the SAFELINK Program (if eligible) or purchasing and redeeming a TracFone Wireless airtime card with service days. Upon reactivation of your phone, you may be assigned a new telephone number. Any airtime remaining on your handset at the time of deactivation will be reinstated if your phone is reactivated within 60 days from the deactivation date. If your phone remains inactive for more than 60 days, you will lose any remaining airtime.

Assurance Wireless: At the end of the applicable 30-day period following notification of ineligibility, you will lose any free monthly minutes remaining in your account and you will no longer receive a monthly allocation of free minutes. For 120 days after the end of this 30-day period, if you have a sufficient balance in your account, you will be charged 10¢ for each additional minute you use. During this 120-day period, you may choose to switch to a Virgin Mobile plan and keep your phone number by calling 1-888-321-5880. After the end of this 120 day-period, your account will expire and we will deactivate your service. If your account expires, you will lose your phone number, and Assurance Wireless will assess you a termination charge equal to the value of the balance in your account.

ReachOut Wireless: In order to reactivate your Reachout Wireless phone and re-enroll in the Reachout Wireless Lifeline Program, you will need to call Reachout Wireless customer service and you will need to pay a Service Activation Fee (“SAF”) Upon re-enrollment in the Reachout Wireless Lifeline Program, you will be provided your first entitlement of airtime for the thirty (30) day period of time in which the service was reactivated.

The upshot: Use the darn phone the government gave you.


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  1. Helen Jantos says

    I have cell service and want to transfer to Cox land line. How do I turn off the cell service in order to activate land line ???


  2. Elijiah says

    I wanted to reactivate my assurance phone the phone # is 804-386-**** and the MSID # is ***-202-5113 and I was just wondering if you guys could help me resolve this problem please and thank you.

    • Free Government Cell Phones says

      Since the phone has already been deactivated, you are free to choose another vendor if you want. Go to our “States” page (as shown on the Navigation Bar at the top of the page), see who does business in your state, and re-apply with any company you prefer.

  3. Laura Trejo says

    My phone was stolen from my car in front of the apartment where I live. I want to reported stolen. I had it in the car because I was going to return it back to the company that provided it to me. What do i do now please let me know. I reported it to my landlord what happen to my car.This is my landlord’s number (712)256-****. It was a samsung phone

  4. Brenda Cardenas says

    My phone was shut off need it activated 702 325 ****.samsung phone. Thank u how long will it take?

  5. Jessica Wilson says

    Hi there…I have just been granted a lifetime stalking protection order against the person who, for whatever reason, confiscated my phone until it was in fact no longer in service before returning it to my possession. I am afraid for me and my child’s safety & can’t afford a reconnection fee at this time. Is there anyway around this at least until I am able to relocate into another home where he isn’t familiar with? Thank you for your time!

    • says

      We didn’t know there was a reactivation fee on a Lifeline cell phone. Regardless, if your current phone provider is trying to charge you, you can try switching providers. CLICK HERE for information on switching cell phone companies.

  6. butch says

    My phone number is 909361**** I want it turned off immediately cause someone stole it and been using it for 3 weeks now

  7. David Copeland says

    I dropped my phone and when I turned the phone back on, it asked for the activation code. I misplaced the letter with the activation code on it. My phone number is 917-569-****. What do I do?

  8. Barbara Curtis says

    I need to have my assurance service temporarily discontinued. I had misplaced my Virgin Mobile PayLo phone, and I am almost certain that it is being used by someone else. I am afraid that there will be an attempt to “top-up” using the information on file. I simply can’t afford to have any activity at all on that card. Can you please let me know what steps I must take to prevent this, if in fact, it is even possible, for I can’t seem to recall.
    Thank you, Sincerely,

    Barbara Curtis

  9. alicia says

    My dad has a safelink phone and he wants to get it shut off. i already called safelink and tried to deactative it but it wont let me.

  10. Donald Biddle says

    I have been having complications due to my diseases , For A few months many thing were not attended to one of those is my Government cell phone, I found my phone but, the service has been discontinued I can not remember what provider issued the service to get it reactivated The phone upon turning it on says powered by Sprint The phone # is ***-752-8983 the MSID # is ***-270-7399. If your technicians can help me get this problem fixed I would be very relieved Sincerely Thank you Donald J Biddle my zip code is *****.