How do I do the annual verification of my phone?

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One of the questions we’re asked most often by readers who already have their free government cell phones is, “How to I do my annual recertification?” This is important information, because if you don’t complete an annual recertification with your free government cell phone company, your service will be suspended.

There are now so many companies competing in the Lifeline Assistance program that we simply can’t list them all. But here’s a quick review of the recertification processes for the three major service providers – SafeLink Wireless, Assurance Wireless, and ReachOut Wireless.

The rules of the Lifeline Assistance program require that you annually verify that you are still qualified to receive your free phone and free minutes. This process must be performed within 60 days of your enrollment anniversary. (NOTE: You still qualify if you still participate in a qualifying government assistance program, or if your household income is still at or below federal poverty guidelines for your state.) That means you can keep your free government cell phone and 250 free minutes each month for another year, at which time you will be required to do another annual recertification.

Recertification is usually easy. The three major cell phone companies allow you to do it online or via the mail.

Assurance Wireless Annual Recertification

On the Assurance Wireless site, it’s called “Annual Certification” and looks like this.

Assurance Wireless Recertification

Go get to the Assurance Wireless recertification page, go here.

The Assurance Wireless annual certification page is very clear and simple to understand. It requests that you have the following information available to make the process quick and easy:

Information you’ll need to recertify:

  • Your current address
  • Your date of birth
  • Your social security number
  • The name of the qualifying government assistance program in which you participate OR your total household income.
  • Your ReachOut Wireless phone number (including area code)
  • Your PIN number.

Remember that you may or may not be asked for documents verifying that you still participate in a government assistance program. They are requested on a random basis, but we always recommend that you have them available so that your recertification process goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.

If you still have questions recertifying, Assurance offers a help line. It is 1-888-898-4888.

Safelink Wireless Annual Recertification

On the Safelink Wireless site it’s called “Annual Verification” and looks like this. It’s clear and simple and leads you through the verification process in a step-by-step manner.

safelink wireless recertification

Go get to the Safelink Wireless recertification page, go here.

Option One: Provide your Enrollment ID number. If that’s not available, provide the last four digits of your Social Security Number.

Option Two: You can also begin the process by providing your Zip Code, Date of Birth and the last four digits of your Social Security Number.

Click on the “Submit” button at the bottom of the page and you’ll be taken to a new page where (we assume) you’ll be asked for information to verify your eligibility. Be prepared with the following information in case it’s requested:

  • Your former address (if you’ve moved since you got your free government cell phone)
  • Your current address
  • Your SafeLink Wireless phone number (including area code)
  • Some sort of documentation verifying that you still participate in a qualifying government assistance program.

ReachOut Wireless Annual Recertification

On the ReachOut Wireless site it’s called “Annual Recertification” and looks like this.

Reachout Wireless Annual Recertification

Go get to the ReachOut Wireless recertification page, go here.

ReachOut’s recertification page is copy-heavy, but look for the links in blue in the middle of the page. One will guide you through the process of recertifying online and the other will guide you through the process of recertifying via mail, fax or email. Choose the process that’s right for you.

Information you’ll need to recertify:

  • Your former address (if you’ve moved since you got your free government cell phone)
  • Your current address
  • Your ReachOut Wireless phone number (including area code)
  • Some sort of documentation verifying that you still participate in a qualifying government assistance program.

It’s not certain that you’ll be asked for that documentation, but you should be prepared just in case. Documentation is requested on a random basis, but you should have it on-hand so your recertification isn’t slowed down.

(NOTE: The process is slightly different for California residents, but those rules are clearly spelled out on the ReachOut Wireless recertification page.)

If you still have trouble recertifying, ReachOut lists a phone number to call for assistance and information. It is 1-877-870-9444.

Don’t commit perjury

No matter who your free government cell phone provider may be, you will not be recertified until you swear under penalty of perjury that you do indeed still qualify for the progam.
This outstanding program is, unfortunately, plagued with fraud, so the penalties for perjury can be (and should be) severe.

How to recertify with other service providers

There are now several dozen companies competing in the Lifeline Assistance free government cell phone program and there’s not enough bandwidth to provide detailed explanations on each of their annual recertification processes.

If you got your free government cell phone from a provider other than SafeLink, Assurance, or ReachOut, we recommend doing a Google search with the name of your service provider and the word “recertification.”

No matter which of the smaller companies you do business with, the recertification process should be very similar to the ones outlined above.

Good luck.

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Comments

  1. Patricia De Carlo says

    i tried to help a friend who had to reapply since he did not recertify on time. it made me apply and there was no place to say he already had a phone but was just reapplying because he had not recertified in time.
    frustrating process.

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